By Harvey Byrne

Ronald Koeman met up with Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain last week to thrash out a deal for defender John Stones, according to a report.

The Mirror claim that the Toffees hierarchy want a straight-cash £50million deal for Stones, but Koeman’s keen to take Wilfried Bony as part of a swap deal to ease Everton’s attacking woes.

Koeman and Bergiristain know each other well from their Barcelona days where they played in the same side for almost seven years.

However, it is claimed that the meeting was more than just a friendly catch-up with Bony being a possible makeweight in City’s chase for Stones.

It is believed that Koeman knows that he won’t be able to prevent their star centre-back from leaving if City offer the asking price for Stones, but he’s investigating how he can sweeten the deal with the former Swansea star looking like an appealing option.

The Ivory Coast international has struggled to cement a place at the Etihad after joining in the 2015 winter window and has scored just six goals in 36 appearances.

He has three years left on his City contract and now seems surplus to requirements.

It is also claimed that Premier League duo Manchester United and Chelsea are interested in Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku, a deal which could play a huge part in whether Koeman does pursue the signature of Bony.

In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have been installed odds-on favourites to sign Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel.