John Stones heads to Germany with Everton squad amid Manchester City speculation
Published 28/07/2016 | 16:56
Everton defender John Stones flew out to Germany for two friendlies in Dresden as speculation intensified about his future - but there was no place in the travelling squad for misfit striker Oumar Niasse.
Stones has played just 30 minutes' football - against MK Dons on Tuesday - since returning to training following an extended break after his England duty at Euro 2016.
About the same time the Everton squad were taking off Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, out in China on the club's pre-season tour, was asked about reports suggesting he was trying to sign the centre-back.
"Everyone knows we're going to try but we will see," was the Catalan's response.
Everton value the 22-year-old at £50million-plus so there is some negotiation to be done yet and, as a result, Stones was on the squad list for Germany released by the club.
Also in the travelling party was striker Romelu Lukaku, set for his first appearance after coming back from his extended break following Belgium's participation in the European Championships.
The 23-year-old, who last season regularly spoke about his desire to play Champions League football, is another who has been linked with a summer move with former club Chelsea reportedly one of the clubs interested.
Niasse is another likely departure but for other reasons after failing to impress new manager Ronald Koeman.
The Senegal international, a £13.5million signing in February, has played just 45 minutes of a behind-closed-doors match during the club's Austrian training camp.
He has not featured in the squad for friendlies against Barnsley or MK Dons in the last week but is not currently listed as injured by the club.
Niasse, who was hampered by a wrist injury, has managed just 152 minutes of competitive football since becoming Everton's third most expensive player when he moved from Lokomotiv Moscow.