Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is reportedly confident that he is set to beat Manchester United and Chelsea to the signing of John Stones.
The Everton defender has been a target for all the top Premier League sides for a significant period of time having impressed at Goodison Park, and had been linked with an exit last summer.
Having opted to stay, it has done little to prevent further speculation this summer, with The Sun suggesting that City are now closing in on signing him.
It will be a crucial addition for Guardiola, particularly considering that he is short of options in the centre-half positions and will desperately want to bring in reinforcements.
Veteran Martin Demichelis will leave the club this summer, while Eliaquim Mangala has failed to convince since his arrival last year following a number of shaky performances that evidently haven’t convinced his new boss.
Coupled with the fact that injury concerns continue to hang over captain Vincent Kompany, Guardiola will need to address the situation ahead of next season.
Stones is arguably the perfect fit for the Spanish tactician considering his defensive solidity and ability on the ball to play out from the back, the latter being of extreme importance to the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.
Chelsea were close to signing the England international last summer and are understood to still be interested, while Jose Mourinho, who was in charge at Stamford Bridge at the time but has since moved on to United, also remains keen on signing the defender.
However, City are supposedly confident that they will beat them both with a £50m offer, as they continue to look to strengthen their squad ahead of Guardiola’s first season in charge.