Manchester United are set to battle it out with Chelsea for the signature of Everton defender John Stones, according to the Daily Express.
The Premier League champions had registered the initial interest in the 21-year-old, and the Express suggest that they made a £20m bid to try and tempt the Toffees to sell the man they paid Barnsley £3m for in 2013 (via BBC Sport).
However, the Express report that Roberto Martinez was not happy about the offer – as they would like an amount closer to £38m – or the public manner in which the Blues made it (via Guardian), which may now work in the Red Devils’ favour.
The Express suggest that the Merseyside outfit are now less keen to deal with Jose Mourinho following the public spat between the two clubs.
While United have more options defensively, Stones arguably stands a better chance of breaking into the first-team at Old Trafford.
John Terry and Gary Cahill have formed one of the strongest partnerships in the Premier League, while Kurt Zouma proved that he is more than capable of stepping in when required.
Meanwhile, United have several young options, but van Gaal was forced to change his pairing around on a regular basis last season due to injuries. While Chris Smalling and Phil Jones seem the most likely to begin the new campaign together, there is a chance that the Dutchman may tinker to allow for the arrival of the Everton man.
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