Noel Whelan has tipped John Stones to favour a move to Everton this summer if Pep Guardiola allows the England international to leave the Etihad.
The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested Newcastle would “have a fight on their hands” if they wanted to lure the 25-year-old to St. James’ Park.
The Telegraph reported that Rafael Benitez is interested in returning to St. James’ Park if a takeover is completed and wants John Stones to be his marquee signing.
Stones has struggled for game time at Manchester City this season with Guardiola preferring holding midfielder Fernandinho in the heart of the defence at times.
The centre-half has made 20 appearances this season but only 12 of those have come in the Premier League.
When asked by Football Insider if Stones would benefit from at move to Tyneside, Whelan said: “John needs a change.
“It has been a stop-start season for him but there is a good player there who is still of a good age. He has a lot to offer.
“We also know that Everton have been interested in bringing him back as well so they would have a fight on their hands.
“If he is willing to leave and is allowed he will have to make a choice.
“He could live in Manchester and travel to Liverpool but Newcastle may offer him more money than Everton. It would be a conundrum.”
However, as revealed by Football Insider, the Toffees have submitted a new bid for Lille central defender Gabriel Magalhaes and a deal would make a move for Stones unlikely.
The City defender still has two years left on his contract at the Etihad having signed a six-year deal when he left Goodison Park for £50million in 2016.