Manchester City remain interested in Everton defender John Stones but are outsiders in the race to secure his signature, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The Citizens face the task of beating Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as fellow Premier League side Chelsea, to the signing of Stones, who has attracted a lot of interest since the summer transfer window.
The 21-year-old was subject of a £38m bid from Chelsea in August, but the offer was rejected by current club Everton. Toffees manager Roberto Martinez has reportedly slapped a £50m price tag on the England international but is unwilling to sell him until the end of the season.
With the bookmakers, City are rank outsiders at 20/1. The aforementioned trio and cross-city rivals Manchester United are listed at odds ranging from 13/10 to 6/1 to be Stones’ next club.
However, Manuel Pellegrini has already shown his willingness to splash the cash when it comes to young, English talent – with Raheem Sterling and Patrick Roberts both cited as examples – and could defy the odds to add another homegrown player to his squad in an attempt to solve the Sky Blues’ defensive crisis of late.