Real Madrid star Raphael Varane offers Manchester City alternative to John Stones

France's Raphael Varane in action

Manchester City may be forced to look elsewhere for a new centre-half if they do not offer the £50 million asking price demanded by Everton.

France's Antoine Griezmann shakes hands with Raphael Varane before the matchFrance's Antoine Griezmann shakes hands with Raphael Varane before the match

It has long been speculated that England international John Stones is Pep Guardiola’s preferred choice in the centre of his defence.

Being praised for his ability to play from the back, 22-year-old Stones fits the bill as the type of defender that the Spaniard likes in his teams.

But with the Manchester Evening News reporting that Everton have flat-out rejected a £40 million offer from City, it remains to be seen who will continue to hold the upper hand in this drawn out transfer saga.

The Toffees will remain confident of being able to force City to increase their offer just as cross-city rivals Liverpool did when negotiating a price for Raheem Sterling last summer.

Yet City chiefs will believe they hold the upper hand due to Stones’ disappointing season and the fact they are offering £2 million more than Chelsea did last summer.

Italy's Leonardo Bonucci misses in the penalty shootoutItaly's Leonardo Bonucci misses in the penalty shootout

Added to the fact that City reportedly remain interested in Juventus leader Leonardo Bonucci, The Telegraph suggests that City may end their interest in the young Lion instead focusing on thrashing out a deal with the Italian club.

Such a deal for the 29-year-old would be costly for City as Bonucci only signed a new five-year contract last summer. And after an impressive Euro 2016 campaign, the ex-Bari player has proven himself to be one of the toughest defenders in world football.

Meanwhile, Eric Bailly has claimed he turned down City, instead choosing to join arch-rivals Manchester United, as reported by ESPN.

Manchester United's Eric Bailly before the gameManchester United's Eric Bailly before the game

United are therefore not actively looking for an additional defender and Guardiola could use this as an opportunity to snap-up Real Madrid’s 23-year-old Frenchman Raphael Varane.

Varane has gone under the radar in recent months having missed out on the Euros due to injury and, available at £30 million, his signing would be a bargain when considering City forked out £12 million more for compatriot Eliaquim Mangala.

With Varane being given his first team opportunity at Madrid by Jose Mourinho, Guardiola would be able to get one up on his nemesis early in the season if a deal was to be explored.

At an affordable price, with vast top-level European experience and with his best yet to come, the two-time Champions League winner may be just the alternative that Pep needs.

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