JONNY EVANS is close to his £30million Manchester City move with West Brom wanting Eliaquim Mangala.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis is refusing to let Evans, 29, leave until he has a replacement and has asked for France centre-back Mangala on loan.
The breakthrough in the deal should see City chief Pep Guardiola secure the Northern Ireland star.
The Etihad club want the former Manchester United man to add experience to their backline as they attempt a title challenge.
Coincidentally, Evans will be training with his national side in Manchester as Michael O’Neill’s men prepare for their World Cup qualifier in San Marino on Friday night.
And Guardiola reckons he will give competition to skipper Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
So far City had a £18m bid rejected but have not given up hope of getting Belfast-born Evans.
Mangala, 26, has been an unused sub in all of City’s games this season.
He arrived from Porto three years ago in a £31.9m deal but struggled to establish himself and was loaned out to Valencia last season.
Guardiola will allow him to leave to get regular football as he will struggle to get in the City side.
But Pulis has room for Mangala on a season-long loan to make sure Evans’ absence is covered.
He was in the hunt for Tottenham’s Austrian ace Kevin Wimmer but he is heading to Stoke, who will also give Ryan Shawcross a new contract.
Have you signed up to play Dream Team Weekender?
- Pick 7 players – no limit to the number of players you can choose from one club
- No transfer budget – any player is available to pick
- Only Saturday and Sunday fixtures
- Sign up to play Dream Team Weekender now