Belfast Telegraph

Evans on standby for £35m City move

 

By Jim Gracey

West Brom have cleared the way for Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans to join Manchester City in a deal that could reach £35m.

Hawthorns manager Tony Pulis yesterday confirmed that the club had rejected a City offer of £18m for the 29-year-old centre-back.

But, significantly, he admitted every player has his price and that Evans is likely to miss the Baggies' game at Burnley today.

Pulis and his West Brom board appear to have accepted they are losing a player who cost a bargain £8m from Manchester United two years ago, and are now just haggling over the price with possible replacements already identified.

City are expected to return with a £22m offer this week to try and prise Evans back to Manchester, but the figure Brom have in mind is a top line of £35m.

The prospect will enrage many United fans who felt Evans should never have been sold by Louis van Gaal. At the same time, they will not begrudge a former Old Trafford favourite the opportunity to make himself financially comfortable for life.

Evans looks like the final piece of City boss Pep Guardiola’s plan for his summer recruitment, with the Spanish manager keen on bringing in a fourth centre-back to provide support for Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as Eliaquim Mangala heads for the Etihad Stadium exit.

Despite his links to rivals United, where he spent nine trophy-laden years, Evans appears to fit the bill for what Guardiola wants in a player and City made an offer on Wednesday thought to be worth £18m for the West Brom defender.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of today’s clash with Burnley, West Brom manager Pulis confirmed that the offer had been rejected and insisted that the Baggies do not want to sell the Northern Ireland international, with a message sent to City to increase their offer significantly if they want permission to speak with the player.

“Market forces dictate things but we don’t need to sell and don’t want to sell, so we are not desperate for the money. Jonny is one of our best players and we’d love him to stay,” Pulis said. “It would have to be a very, very good offer.”

But while Pulis admitted that West Brom will not sell club captain Evans on the cheap, he did accept that the Baggies do not have the power to resist City’s advances if they come up with the right offer.

“I think every player is for sale at the right price,” he said. “It would be crazy to say a team like West Brom won’t sell if a team are going to put a huge amount of money in front of you.

“He’s been in this position before here and he understands the situation — until all of the parties agree then he won’t be going anywhere.

“He has been made club captain and he wants to get on with his football.”

The 61-times-capped Northern Ireland star, who shone at last summer’s Euro finals, is unlikely to play this weekend, said to be due to an ongoing hamstring injury that ruled him out of last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Pulis also confirmed that West Brom are interested in signing Tottenham defender Kevin Wimmer, although he said that reports of an agreement being close were wide of the mark.

The club are also reported to be interested in Liverpool’s £30m-rated French defender Mamadou Sakho.

“We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire and we hope to get deals done and they have to be right for the football club,” he added.

  • West Ham defender Winston Reid has signed a mammoth new six-year contract.

The 29-year-old New Zealand international has committed his future to the Hammers until 2023.

Reid, who joined West Ham from FC Midtjylland in 2010, told the club’s website: “I’m very happy.

“I’m pleased we’ve got it sorted so I’m obviously looking forward to the seasons ahead. It’s going to be a big amount of time I’ve spent at the club and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve been here a long time now. I think with the business we’ve done over this summer and the players we had here before, I think we can go on to have a good season and seasons ahead. It’s all about trying to get better.

“I enjoy being here and my family does as well so I’m very happy I’m able to stay here.”

Reid has so far made 204 appearances for West Ham and scored 10 goals.

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