John Stones: Pep Guardiola confirms Man City interest in Everton defender

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
John Stones and Raheem Sterling
John Stones (left) could be worth more than the £49m Manchester City paid Liverpool for Raheem Sterling

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed he is interested in signing Everton defender John Stones.

It is thought Everton want £50m for the 22-year-old, who came close to joining Chelsea last summer.

"Everyone knows we are going to try," said Guardiola after Thursday's friendly win over Borussia Dortmund in China. "We will see what happens."

Stones was part of the England squad at Euro 2016 but did not feature as they were knocked out in the last 16.

Guardiola added: "I am very happy with the squad we have."

Stones has joined Everton on their pre-season tour of Germany, and although a deal is yet to be agreed it is thought the two Premier League clubs are not far apart in their valuations.

Stones made his debut for Barnsley in March 2012, 10 months before joining Everton for £3m.

City boss Guardiola has identified the Yorkshireman as the kind of central defender who fits his approach to the game.

"Normally central defenders are strong in the air and aggressive," said Guardiola on Wednesday.

"But we need to have a good build-up to create easy passes in the midfield so they can create good passes for the strikers. I believe when the ball goes from the central defender to the striker as quickly as possible, it comes as quickly as possible back.

"That is why the players in that area need quality. By 31 August we will have the right squad to play how we want."

Guardiola used midfielders Javier Mascherano and Javi Martinez as central defenders while managing Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively.

And the Spaniard has identified a City midfielder who could step into the back four if required.

"Fernandinho can play in 10 positions," he said.

"He is quick, fast, intelligent, aggressive. He is strong in the air and has the quality to play good build-up, can go right or left and can pass long."

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