West Brom reject Manchester City bid for Jonny Evans
He’d follow likes of Schmeichel, Cole and Tevez in playing for both Manchester clubs
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is targeting West Brom defender Jonny Evans to strengthen his defensive options. Photograph: PA
Manchester City are targeting West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans in a move that could make the former Manchester United defender only the sixth footballer to represent both Manchester clubs in the Premier League era.
Evans, 29, had been identified by Pep Guardiola as precisely the kind of ball-playing centre-back the manager wants to bolster an area of the defence that lacks depth and quality. Guardiola, it is understood, has a firm interest in Evans but saw an £18m (€20m) bid rejected on Wednesday. If City can prise the Northern Irishman away from West Brom he will be given a chance to compete for a first-team berth.
Evans left United two years ago after Louis van Gaal, the former manager, sanctioned his sale to West Brom, a move that “stunned” Van Gaal’s predecessor Alex Ferguson, according to Michael O’Neill, the Northern Ireland coach. That deal cost Albion around £8m as Evans was in the final 12 months of his contract at Old Trafford. He has two years left of his terms at West Brom so an improved bid of around £20m may tempt the Midlands club to sell.
Last month Tony Pulis, the West Brom manager, claimed Evans would not be sold and pointed to how he was now the captain following Darren Fletcher’s move to Stoke City.
“Jonny Evans is staying with West Bromwich Albion,” Pulis said. “There is no doubt about that. Jonny will be our captain next season. He had a fantastic year last season and I’m hoping he steps up now. He’s not had the responsibility before, to be a captain around the club.”
However, if Evans was to join City he would follow Peter Schmeichel, Andy Cole, Andrei Kanchelskis, Owen Hargreaves and Carlos Tevez as players who have also been at both clubs since the Premier League’s inception 25 years ago.
While Pulis would be loth to lose Evans following Fletcher’s departure, Guardiola’s options at centre-back are particularly limited. The captain, Vincent Kompany, has had an injury-troubled past two seasons, while John Stones and Nicolás Otamendi, the only two other front-line operators in the position, are yet to totally convince the head coach.
Guardiola’s issue at centre-half is underlined by Eliaquim Mangala’s reintroduction to the first-team squad after spending all of last year at Valencia on loan. The Frenchman cost £42m from Porto in the summer of 2014 but failed to impress, yet Guardiola named Mangala on the bench for Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion. That signalled that despite his shaky City career Mangala is currently ahead of Tosin Adarabioyo and Jason Denayer.