By Harvey Byrne
Everton are standing firm on their £50million John Stones price tag and have told Manchester City to take it or leave it, according to a report.
Sky Sports have claimed on their website that the Toffees have told City that they won’t budge on their valuation of their star defender.
It is said two clubs have been in talks for weeks over a move to Etihad Stadium for Stones, but Everton are insisting there will be no negotiation.
City must decide whether they are willing to meet that valuation or move on to other targets.
A £50million fee would comfortably be a new record for the Toffees and would demolish their previous transfer records.
The highest sum Everton have received was £27million when Maroanne Fellaini joined Manchester United in 2013, while their record outlay is the £28million spent to entice Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea 12 months later.
Chelsea made three bids for Stones last summer of up to £37million, but new City boss Guardiola has earmarked the youngster as a key part of his revolution and is willing to meet the Goodison Park club’s demands.
“Everyone knows we are going to try,” said Guardiola, when asked about Stones and as quoted by the BBC Sport website. “We will see what happens.”
The centre-back still has three years left on his current deal after joining from Barnsley in the 2013 January transfer window for £2million.
Stones has shown flashes of potential throughout a tumultuous season for Everton in 2015-16, playing in 41 games in all competitions, but he did not figure for England at Euro 2016 after being omitted in favour of Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill.
Toffees fans will hope Everton move to sign a replacement if he does go, as it would leave just two experienced central defenders at the club, Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees are expected to return to Swansea with a new and improved offer of £15million for Ashley Williams.