Manchester United have joined Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea in the race to sign Everton defender John Stones, according to reports.
The Toffees have already turned down Chelsea’s first two bids worth £20million and £20m respectively for the 21-year-old England international, saying that he is not for sale.
But the Red Devils are preparing to offer them Jonny Evans in a player-plus-cash deal in return of Stones, who can play at right-back as well as at center-back and is regarded as the best young English defensive prospect in Premier League.
Chelsea’s public pursuit of Stones has reportedly infuriated Everton which could be advantageous for Manchester clubs but the Premier League champions also haven’t relinquished and are set to lodge a third bid.
Stones emerged as a target for United boss Louis van Gaal after he failed to secure the services of his transfer priority Sergio Ramos, who is reportedly close to signing a new deal with Real Madrid.
And the Dutchman now set to use Evans as a makeweight in a bid to bring the Englishmen to Old Trafford. The Northern Ireland defender has played more than 200 games for United since joining the club 11 years ago but found himself out of favour under Van Gaal in the second half of last season.
Stones had joined Everton from Barnsley for £3m in January 2013 and is contracted to stay at Goodison Park until 2019 after signing a five-year deal last summer.
Though Everton remain adamant of not selling their star player, it is understood that an offer involving experienced campaigner like Evans could change the mind of club’s chiefs.