Everton look set to rival Arsenal this summer for the signature of out-of-favour Manchester City defender John Stones .
The England international has struggled for fitness this term and has made only 12 Premier League appearances. An ankle injury, meanwhile, picked up before Project Restart has meant Stones hasn't played a single minute for Pep Guardiola since City's return to action last month.
He wasn't in the squad for the victories over Arsenal and Burnley, as well as the defeat the Chelsea, while he could only make the bench for the recent 4-0 win over champions Liverpool - as Eric Garcia started alongside mainstay Aymeric Laporte.
But The Sun understand Stones could be offered an escape route from Manchester by former club Everton - who he represented 95 times before his £50m move to City in the summer of 2016 - in a cut-price move.
The 26-year-old will be desperate to earn some sort of first-team action before the delayed Euro 2020 tournament next summer, following the meteoric rise of Joe Gomez and the impressive form of Harry Maguire at Manchester United. At the moment, the 39-England cap defender's place in the side looks far from secure.
Nevertheless, former City full-back Micah Richards claims Guardiola has completely lost faith in Stones after persistent errors, noting: "John Stones, I thought he was going to be the one to step up but it looks like the manager has lost a little bit of faith in him."
And with 19-year-old Garcia shining in his two appearances following the restart, opportunities for Stones at the Etihad currently appear slim.
"That's why he deserves to play. He doesn't make mistakes and what he has to do he does it properly and that's what you have to do to be a central defender, don't make mistakes," Guardiola said of Garcia; comments that appeared to take a sly dig at the other options at his disposal.