Manchester United prepare smart swap deal to sign Chelsea target

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Manchester United have joined Chelsea in the race to sign Everton star John Stones, reports the Daily Mirror.

The Red Devils are willing to use Jonny Evans as part of an offer for the 21-year-old. The Toffees have been linked with the Northern Irishman this summer [The Guardian], and having a ready-made replacement in the deal could entice them in to selling one of the best players.

As Phil Jagielka is the only other senior centre-back at Goodison Park, Roberto Martinez will certainly need to move quickly if he sells Stones and this could negate that problem. However, it won’t please Chelsea, who have just had a £26m bid for the player turned down [The Independent]. Everton have also reiterated that their defender isn’t for sale as part of that rejection, putting in to doubt whether any side will be able to prise the youngster from their grasp.

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The transfer saga could be complicated by Manchester City, who are also monitoring the England international’s availability [Daily Mirror]. Having already signed Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph in the current transfer window, the Citizens are clearly keen to bring in young English talent, and the centre-back is another player who would fit the bill.

Moreover, having conceded more goals than the rest of the top four last season with 38, Stones could be a good addition in an area Manuel Pellegrini clearly needs to improve. Eliaquim Mangala has not looked at home in English football since arriving last summer, and the Everton man could be the perfect player to make up for the former Porto ace’s failings.

Meanwhile, their local rivals United could be looking at the defender to bolster their back line after having to rely heavily on David de Gea’s heroics last time round. With the Spain international looking set to leave [Metro], it is important for Louis van Gaal to improve the area.

Chelsea could be looking at Stones as a potential successor for John Terry, who is now 34-years-old. Although their skipper has just come off the back of a great campaign, it is surely only a matter of time before his standards start to slip with age.

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