Friday 27 April 2018

Manchester City's pursuit of Jonny Evans could go to the wire as West Brom stand firm over €33m evaluation

Port Vale versus West Brom; Jonny Evans of West Bromwich Albion warms up before the game (Photo by Conor Molloy/Action Plus via Getty Images)
Port Vale versus West Brom; Jonny Evans of West Bromwich Albion warms up before the game (Photo by Conor Molloy/Action Plus via Getty Images)

James Ducker & John Percy

Manchester City are prepared for their pursuit of Jonny Evans to go down to the wire as West Bromwich Albion dig in their heels over the Northern Ireland centre-half.

West Brom are thought to want at least £30 million (€33 million) for Evans and Tony Pulis has admitted he will not stand in the former Manchester United defender’s way if their valuation is met but City are adamant they will not be held to ransom.

As revealed by the Telegraph, City had a second offer worth £21 million, including £3 million of add ons, rejected by West Brom on Friday of last week and the Manchester club are expected to make an improved bid of about £25 million but the situation could drag on until the final few days of the transfer window.

John Williams, the West Brom chairman, previously worked for City and has maintained good relations with the Manchester club, who recognise he is a tough negotiator.

City are also braced to bid for Arsenal’s unsettled Chile forward, Alexis Sanchez, and could yet move for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe or Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele if a deal for Sanchez fails to get off the ground.

West Brom are prepared to make Evans the club’s highest paid player on a new deal worth £85,000 a week but the club are in advanced talks about signing Kevin Wimmer from Spurs for £15 million and could also move for Mamadou Sakho if Evans departs after enquiring about Liverpool’s £30 million rated France centre-back.

Arsenal and Leicester made bids for Evans last year – Leicester also made another approach this summer – but West Brom are thought to have dragged their heels over a new deal for the 29-year-old and now risk losing their captain, who has two years left on his existing £75,000 a week contract.

Evans missed West Brom’s opening day victory over Bournemouth with a hamstring injury that Pulis claimed he would have to “take his word for” but the manager admitted on Friday that the defender was still feeling the problem and would miss the game against Burnley on Saturday  unless he passed a late fitness test.

Pulis admitted West Brom will be powerless to keep Evans if City make an offer that “blows us out of the water” but claimed the late approach underlined why he was in favour of the transfer deadline being brought forward to before the start of the season.

“Every player is for sale at the right price, it is absolutely crazy to say that a team like West Brom won’t sell players if people are going to put an enormous amount of money in front of you,” the West Brom manager said.

“What it shows and proves is that the transfer market should close before season starts. It’s been a disease that’s grown over the past years.

“Everybody’s got their value and their need. Our need is for Jonny to stay. If we don’t keep Jonny and they blow you out of the water the responsibility for us is to find someone to take Jonny’s place.

“He had a chance to go to Arsenal last year. Arsenal came and made an offer for him. Leicester did last year and have again this summer. It hasn’t affected him any way shape or form.

“You could say most probably Manchester City are different because they will be hoping to win the championship, hoping to win the Champions League, the FA Cup and everything else. It’s a club that with Pep [Guardiola] this year will win trophies so it’s a difficult one for everyone.”

On the prospect of signing Wimmer, Pulis said: “There’s been interest but we’ve got nothing where it’s close and we’re in the bag.”

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