Everton are standing firm in their bid to keep John Stones at Goodison Park.
Last summer, the Toffees faced severe pressure from Chelsea to let the England defender leave but they didn’t relinquish.
And, with Manchester City calling, Ronald Koeman is adopting the same stance his predecessor, Roberto Martinez, took in 2015.
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Stones is said to be eager to join Pep Guardiola’s team - just as he wanted to join Chelsea last year - but Everton aren’t making it easy.
The club, which finished 11th in the Premier League last season, have told City to make a record fee for the 22-year-old or forget about signing him.
The current record for a defender stands at £50 million, which is how much Paris Saint-Germain paid Chelsea for David Luiz in 2014.
And, according to the Mirror, £50m is the minimum figure it will take for Everton to enter negotiations with City.
Opening bid this weekend
The Citizens will test the water with a £40m bid, possibly as early as this weekend. That is the same bid Everton knocked back from Chelsea last year.
Mourinho remains keen on Stones, the report adds, and a bidding war could ensue if the Portuguese’s interest translates into a bid.
That appears unlikely though. Manchester United have already signed Eric Bailly and, though they could do with another centre back, it seems unlikely they will go after Stones given that Bailly cost £30m and a bid in excess of £100m for Paul Pogba has been made.
Should the former Barnsley player complete a £50m move, he will become the most expensive player in English history. City already hold the record having spent £49m on Raheem Sterling in 2015.
Manchester United fans react
And fans can’t believe just how much Everton are quoting for the defender.
Stones has made it clear that he wants to leave Merseyside but the reason it’s perhaps taken so long is due to his inconsistent performances last season.
The defender, who didn’t make an appearance at Euro 2016, had a backwards year when many expected him to blossom. His composed style is easy on the eye but Stones was caught in possession on too many occasions.
If Guardiola was to spend £50m, it would certainly represent a huge risk. Especially when his current stable of centre backs isn’t the most inspiring.
Vincent Kompany is injury prone. Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi are inconsistent. Martin Demichelis isn’t good enough.
While Guardiola likes ball-playing defenders, he would be better off searching for a proven, wiser centre back as he prepares to go head-to-head with Jose Mourinho.