Saturday 17 February 2018

City prepare £50m bid for Stones

Everton's John Stones. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Everton's John Stones. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Matt Law

Manchester City are prepared to pay up to £50m to land John Stones and are confident of signing the defender in time for him to return from a post-Euro 2016 break to join in pre-season training.

Everton have placed the £50m valuation on Stones, but that has done nothing to deter City and a firm bid is expected to be placed imminently. The new City manager Pep Guardiola has earmarked Stones as a key part of his revolution and his determination to get the 22-year-old was strengthened by Aymeric Laporte's decision to stay at Athletic Bilbao.

While Everton are resigned to losing Stones, new Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri is determined to do everything he can to keep striker Romelu Lukaku at the club. New boss Ronald Koeman yesterday made compatriot Maarten Stekelenburg his first signing.

N'Golo Kante is poised to turn down a new contract at Leicester City and favours a move to Chelsea over his numerous other summer options.

Leicester have offered Kante a new £100,000-a-week deal he is siding towards leaving with Chelsea, Juventus, Manchester United and Arsenal battling for his signature. Of the four clubs, Kante is believed to fancy the opportunity of working with Antonio Conte at Chelsea, but he has not yet ruled out going elsewhere.

Kante has a £20m release clause in his Leicester contract, although Chelsea may yet have to pay over that figure to land him.

Elsewhere, Troy Deeney has ended speculation about his future by signing a new five-year contract with Watford, while Callum Wilson has signed a new four-year deal with Bournemouth.

Newcastle have signed Matt Ritchie from the Cherries on a five-year deal for a fee reported to be around £10m.

The Magpies also signed striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace - also for a reported fee of £10m - with Andros Townsend moving in the opposite direction after the London club met the £13m release clause in his contract.

Meanwhile, Cork-born defender John Egan is on his way to the Championship with his move to Brentford set to go through this weekend.

Egan - the son of the late Kerry GAA great John - impressed at League One Gillingham last term and allowed his contract to run down so he could keep his options open. Leeds were interested in the 23-year-old ex-Sunderland centre-half but Brentford appear to have made the decisive move that could propel the player into Martin O'Neill's thoughts.

Earlier this week, Limerick's Anthony Forde also graduated to Championship level after penning a deal with Rotherham following his decision to leave Walsall.

Chris Forrester has agreed to stay in League One. The former St Patrick's Athletic star has signed a long-term deal with Peterborough and has been made club captain.

Irish Independent

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