Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho to battle Man City for Everton's John Stones

By Steven Beacom

Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola, the sequel, has already begun with Everton defender John Stones at the centre of a battle which is set to rage in the Premier League next season.

With Manchester United announcing the sacking of Louis van Gaal yesterday and Mourinho ready to replace him as manager, the former Chelsea boss is keen to bring Stones to Old Trafford and irk incoming Manchester City boss and old rival Guardiola in the process.

City were confident they had a deal in place for the £45m-rated 21-year-old, but it is understood Stones will now consider a move to United now Mourinho is moving to Old Trafford.

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Mourinho, who had fierce battles with Guardiola as coaches of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, tried to sign Stones last summer when he was in charge at Stamford Bridge.

In what is expected to be the first of many transfer battles between United and City in the coming months, the Etihad outfit are determined to scrap hard to sign Stones feeling that by winning this opening salvo they would be laying down a marker to the Red Devils and Mourinho.

United's under-fire Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward raised eyebrows amongst United fans when thanking Van Gaal for his "excellent work".

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