Manchester City identify possible John Stones replacement in surprise transfer twist

Manchester City identify possible John Stones replacement in surprise transfer twist

Premier League champions Manchester City have identified a possible replacement for John Stones from within the English top-flight, according to a new report.

The latest rumours concerning the England international come following a challenging season on a personal note for the centre-back, who is understood to have somewhat struggled post-Treble under Pep Guardiola last campaign.

Stones has seen his game time hugely limited at Manchester City this season, in a significant change of circumstances to the last campaign when the 30-year-old was regarded as one of the finest all-round defenders in the world.

Operating in a mixture of full-back, central defence, and defensive midfield, John Stones’ in-game intelligence was widely praised within the game and his role in Manchester City winning their first ever Champions League title cannot be underestimated.

However, off the back of the most recent season and Manchester City’s ability to secure the Premier League title without a huge impact from Stones, the Englishman’s future has been thrown into some level of doubt.

According to the information of Football Insider, Manchester City are ‘keeping close tabs’ on the situation of Jarrad Branthwaite at Everton ahead of a possible swoop for the Englishman in the coming weeks and months.

It is claimed that the Premier League champions could make a surprise move to sign the 21-year-old if one of their current centre-backs leaves, with John Stones said to be ‘unhappy’ with his current situation at the Etihad Stadium.

Reports in some quarters have highlighted what valuation Everton could stamp on their in-demand central defender, with one claim being that his transfer fee could be close towards an eye-watering £90 million.

The Merseyside club are said to have taken note of transfer fees paid for the likes of Josko Gvardiol, Harry Maguire, and Wesley Fofana in recent seasons, and believe that Branthwaite’s age, preferred left-foot, and nationality boosts his value.

It remains to be seen whether Manchester City will look to turn their monitoring into concrete interest, however the early understanding is that sporting director Txiki Begiristain is a huge fan of the player’s talents.