Belfast Telegraph

West Brom boss hails Evans' attitude as Manchester City set up a £25 million bid

 

By Jim Gracey

West Brom boss Tony Pulis has praised the attitude of his Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans with Manchester City preparing a second bid for the 29-year-old, believed to be in the region of £25m.

Pulis insisted Evans is not agitating for a move despite missing a third successive club game last night.

He described Evans as unfazed by the speculation since City's initial offer of £18m was rejected by West Brom, who nevertheless left the door open for City to return with an improved bid.

But while the Baggies boss insisted Evans' head has not been turned by the interest, Pulis appeared to accept the lure of City would prove hard for the player to resist.

"He had a chance to go to Arsenal last year," Pulis said.

"Arsenal made an offer for him. Leicester did last year and have again this summer. City's bid hasn't affected him in any way, shape or form.

"You could say most probably Manchester City are different because they will be hoping to win the championship, hoping to win the Champions League, the FA Cup and everything else. It's a club that with Pep Guardiola this year that will win trophies. So it's a difficult one for everyone."

Evans has missed Albion’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season and sat out last night’s Carabao Cup victory over Accrington Stanley, due to a hamstring injury, Pulis stressed.

There have been some high-profile cases this summer of players downing tools as they attempt to engineer moves away from their current employers.

Chelsea and Southampton have suffered that problem with Diego Costa and Virgil van Dijk respectively.

Pulis has also experienced it with Brom striker Saido Berahino, who threatened to go on strike after he was denied a move to Spurs two years ago.

However the Hawthorns manager insisted Evans would have no qualms about playing if fit for selection.

“Jonny is fine, he understands the situation (regarding City’s interest), where everything is and where everyone is placed,” Pulis said.

“Until all parties agree then nothing will happen. He’s happy here and he wants to get on with his football. Unfortunately at the moment, he’s picked up an injury. I don’t think Jonny would do that (not play even if fit).

“I’ve known Jonny for quite a while now and I don’t think he’d be doing that. I know other players have done that and other people have said it’s happened to other players, but I don’t think Jonny is one that would do that.”

Pulis has already made contingency plans should Evans leave The Hawthorns before the end of this month but, ironically, the man he had earmarked to replace the Northern Ireland international now finds himself the subject of serious interest from City.

The Etihad outfit are understood to be lining up a swoop for Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, for whom the Baggies have already had a £20m offer rejected this summer, and Guardiola could step up his pursuit of the 24-year-old in the coming days if City are unable to persuade the Baggies to come to an agreement over Evans’ move.

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