Manchester United want to beat Chelsea to signing of 21-year-old prospect

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Red Devils join running for Premier League star.

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Manchester United are keen to see off competition from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for the signing of Everton defender John Stones, according to the Daily Mail.

The Red Devils seem to be upping their interest in the England international, and this is in part due to the competition they could face from their two Premier League rivals, the Mail claims.

Stones has caught the eye with some commanding defensive displays in the last two seasons, having first become a regular for Roberto Martinez’s side in 2013/14 and continuing his fine development in 2014/15.

The 21-year-old featured 28 times in all competitions this season, and actually scored his first goal for Everton in a 3-0 win over United towards the end of the season. His fine form in the league has also seen him earn four caps for the senior England national team.

Stones will no doubt need to ensure he is playing regularly for his club to keep himself in Roy Hodgson’s plans for England, and a promising young player can sometimes run the risk of moving too early on in their career, though a move to United would no doubt be tempting, with Champions League football and the chance to win silverware on offer.

United are also being strongly linked with a move to sign Valencia centre-back Nicolas Otamendi (via the Daily Express last week), which suggests defensive recruits are a priority for manager Louis van Gaal this summer, perhaps owing to some questionable form from players like Jonny Evans and Phil Jones in the season just past. If Stones can progress as he has done so far, he would arguably be an upgrade on United’s current options at the back and a great long-term purchase.

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