Guardiola plays it cool over Evans

LONDON • Manchester City's determination to sign Jonny Evans will be tested after they were told that they will have to pay at least £30 million (S$52.6 million) to tempt West Bromwich Albion into selling the defender.

Tony Pulis, the West Brom manager, admitted that Evans could leave before the transfer window closes on Aug 31 if the price is right, but City will have to significantly increase the £18 million offer that was rejected this week.

"It would be crazy to say West Brom won't sell if a huge amount of money is put in front of you," Pulis said. "But it would need to be a good offer. We're not desperate for money. Jonny's one of our best and we'd love him to stay."

Evans, 29, has two years left on his contract at the Hawthorns and Pep Guardiola, the City manager, believes that the centre-back would be a good addition as he tries to compete for European and domestic honours this season.

He was, however, reluctant to speak about City's interest in Evans on Friday at his pre-match conference ahead of the Premier League clash with Everton tomorrow (Tuesday, 3am).

"Jonny Evans is a player for West Brom. It's still the same. Tony Pulis was clear so there's nothing to talk about," the Spaniard said.

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"We are going to see how the market finishes at the end of the window. If we have to stay with the players we have right now, we are happy. If someone comes in, we are happy too."

It is understood that City are looking at a number of other centre-backs, in case the Evans transfer falls through.

That position remains an area of concern for Guardiola, who has had to draft Eliaquim Mangala, who wants to leave the club, into the first-team squad as he has only three other senior players in that role - John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany, who has a poor injury record.

The main attribute they are looking for is experience, which Evans has in abundance after spending nine years at Manchester United.

City have also ended their interest in Virgil van Dijk, Southampton's Dutch centre-back, who has been valued at £50 million by his club.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 20, 2017, with the headline 'Guardiola plays it cool over Evans'. Print Edition | Subscribe