Manchester United are set to step up their interest in Everton defender John Stones as they're expecting Premier League rivals Chelsea to make a bid for the player's services.
This has been reported by the Daily Mail, who claim that the Red Devils want to bring the 21-year-old England international to Old Trafford this summer, with the club seemingly intent on building for the long term.
Stones, of course, is widely regarded as one of the most exciting young defenders in the country, so it's not entirely surprising that the duo of Manchester United and Chelsea look set to battle it out for his signature.
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The same report goes on to reveal that the duo of Manchester City and Arsenal are interested in the youngster, but it appears that United are in front in the race to secure his services. In fact, the Mail go on to reveal that the defender is a boyhood United supporter, with Sir Alex Ferguson having previously tried to bring him to the club.
It's far from certain as to whether Manchester United will make a bid for the player in the coming days, but it certainly appears that the Red Devils are ready to make their move, with Jose Mourinho and Co. in west London seemingly interested in the Everton man.
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And, if United really do manage to bring Stones to the club this summer, then he will be surrounded by a number of fellow English stars in the back four. Van Gaal, of course, already has the centre-back duo of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at his disposal, while Luke Shaw, who moved to the club from Southampton last summer, is operating in the left-back role in Manchester.
One thing's for sure, though, all of United's English defenders will be determined to enjoy a huge season under Van Gaal next term after indifferent spells in 2014/15.
World-class defender needed
But is Stones really what United need? Ok, at 21-years of age, he will make a fine coup for the future, as the club look to build a platform to secure success for the long term.
The truth is, though, United fans will be desperate to see their club return to the summit of the Premier League sooner rather than later, and the club may well need to invest in a world-class centre-back if they're going to manage that.
The likes of Mats Hummels or Nicolás Otamendi would certainly prove welcome signings for the Red Devils, who must improve defensively if they're going to overhaul Chelsea next term.
Manchester United fans: Who do you want your club to sign this summer? Have your say in the comments section below!