Guardiola identifies Stones as Man City priority – Reports

Date published: Thursday 7th April 2016 8:04

Pep Guardiola has identified centre-back duo John Stones and Aymeric Laporte as priority summer signings as he begins his Manchester City reign, according to reports. 

City have been poor at the back this season, and incoming manager Guardiola has targeted Everton’s Stones and Athletic Bilbao youngster Laporte, according to The Independent.

Reports also suggest that Manchester City Director of football Txiki  Begiristain is close to completing a deal for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, but Guardiola’s top priority is tightening up at the back, starting with a double swoop for Stones and Laporte that could cost £100million.

Everton faced a fight to keep their prised asset last season, turning down a £30million bid from Chelsea, and it looks like the Toffees have another fight on their hands this summer.

Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for £50million-rated Stones, but rivals City have now emerged as major contenders for the 21-year-old, who has three years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park.

City Director Begiristain has reportedly targeted highly-rated Bilbao star Laporte and is willing to activate his £39million release clause.

The 21-year-old was ruled out of Euro 2016 last month due to breaking his ankle, but is expected to return to fitness for pre-season.

Potential moves this summer could cast doubt over the futures of current City defender, including captain Vincent Kompany, who has started only 12 games this season.

Nicolas Otamendi, a £30million summer signing from Valencia, has struggled in recent months due to the absence of Kompany.

Eliaquim Mangala has failed to live up to the £42million fee paid to Porto, while Martin Demichelis is expected to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

According to reports, Guardiola is also eyeing moves to strengthen in both full-back positions, with Gael Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna all in their 30s.

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