Manchester City are lining up a summer raid for Everton defender Mason Holgate and could offer John Stones back to his former club as part of the deal, according to reports.
City boss Pep Guardiola has struggled to select defensive partnerships this season, with Aymeric Laporte’s knee injury suffered in August keeping him out until earlier this month.
Indeed, Laporte then went off midway through Wednesday’s Champions League victory over Real Madrid, with Guardiola confirming the Frenchman’s latest problem is a consequence of a lack of game time.
The newspaper claims that the City boss wants at least two defensive signings, Holgate being one of them, with the England Under-21 international valued at £30million.
It is said that City’s recruitment staff have been tracking the 23-year-old and are impressed by his ability to play in defensive midfield and at right-back, as well as in the centre of defence.
Guardiola is reportedly prepared to send Stones back to Goodison Park as part of the deal; the defender has struggled for form and was not included in the squad to face Madrid despite being fully fit.
Meanwhile, Everton are said to want Holgate to sign a new deal, with two years remaining on his current contract.
Holgate has been at Everton for almost five years since joining from Barnsley but he has hit particularly good form under Carlo Ancelotti.
City return to action on Sunday when they bid to win the Carabao Cup for the third season in a row against Aston Villa.
Everton, meanwhile, play Manchester United on Sunday in Premier League action.