There was much talk on social media this summer about a ‘surprise centre-back’ target, with no one having any real idea who it was. Many guessed, but no one would have expected it to be former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans.
29-year-old Evans, who captains West Brom, is now Pep Guardiola’s main target to add depth and experience to his City defence and replace Aleksandar Kolarov, but the Baggies have resisted so far, turning down an £18million bid from City.
It is said that the Blues will have to pay £30million to prise Evans from The Hawthorns, but the Sunday Mirror reports that City have no intention of paying that much.
City will improve their bid by offering £20million for the Northern Ireland international, but are not prepared to go as high as £30million.
And if West Brom refuse to budge, Pep will instead turn to a frequently mentioned transfer target, Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough. The 24-year-old, who was called up by England earlier this year, remains with his boyhood club after their relegation to the Championship, but is hoping for a return to the Premier League before the transfer window slams shut.
His way back to the top flight may depend on the success of City’s Evans pursuit, because if they abandon that, they will make a £20million offer for Gibson, the Sunday Mirror reveals.
Ironically, West Brom had two bids for Gibson turned down earlier this summer, but if Manchester City came calling, Boro would be unable to deny Gibson a move to a top Premier League side, and it a deal would most likely be done quickly.