Manchester United have been given a massive boost in their hopes of signing Everton defender John Stones after learning that he would rather stay in the Northwest than head for London, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
However, the same report also claims that new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is also keen on his signature, and could rival the Red Devils when he finally takes up his post at the Etihad.
Chelsea had chased the 21-year-old extensively over the summer, and had four bids knocked back by the Toffees, who weathered the storm again during the January transfer window.
But Louis van Gaal was desperate to land a centre-back last year that saw United close to bringing Real Madrid stalwart Sergio Ramos to the club, and only stalled on making a move for Stones in 2015 because they felt he could use another year of development at Everton.
And though they now face competition from cross town rivals City for his services, their hopes of bringing him on board will be boosted by the news that he wants to stay in the north, thus ruling Chelsea out of the race.
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