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Mail: City to enter four-way battle for Stones

Regardless of the fact there was a game last night, the City-related headlines are packed with transfer gossip...

Of course, there is some post-match reaction hidden amongst the rumours, which we'll get to later. For now, who's apparently incoming and outgoing?

Well, many sources report the Blues are set to do battle with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea for John Stones' signature.

That includes the Daily Mail, who believe the asking price is £50million for the Everton defender.

Writes Rob Draper: "Everton turned down the opportunity to sell their highly-rated centre half last summer, rejecting a £38million bid from Chelsea.

"City have struggled in central defence with Vincent Kompany often injured while Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi have failed to justify their fees thus far.

"Chelsea’s interest has not waned since last summer though they now will have to fight off three others clubs and would have to convince Stones to join a club which would be unlikely to have qualified for the Champions League.

"Everton have insisted that Stones is not for sale and he is under contract until 2019 but it would be expected that they would prefer to see to one of the Spanish giants rather than a Premier League rival.

"Stones is just one of the Real Madrid transfer targets, even though the club is currently banned from signing players this summer. If the club appeals the ban, they could see it delayed until next year, allowing them to sign this summer."

In other news, ex-Blue boss Roberto Mancini has fuelled suggestion he is plotting a move for Yaya Toure in the summer, expressing his admiration for the Ivorian.

As Four Four Two explain: "Mancini took Toure to Manchester City in 2010 and the Ivory Coast midfielder played a pivotal role in securing 2010-11 FA Cup and 2011-12 Premier League glory.

"Toure remains a key man at the Etihad Stadium, but was mooted as target for Inter last close-season and the player's outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk this week told Sportitalia: 'We are ready to listen any offers that are on the table' and the end of the current campaign."

Mancini declared: "Anything can happen in the transfer window. Yaya Toure is a top player and he'll remain at that level for many years because he's got class and great physique."

Elsewhere, Club Call believe City - along with Liverpool and Arsenal - are in the hunt for Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams, in a bid to take the pressure off Sergio Aguero.

An article reads: "Reports claim that City are in the box seat to do a deal and are willing to match the £37.8million fee that would activate a release clause in the youngster's contract.

"The 21-year-old has been in fine form for Bilbao this season and has a great chance of making the Spain squad for the European Championships next summer."

Elsewhere, former Blue Steve McManaman insists City will not sign superstar Lionel Messi.

Discussing speculation the Argentine could move to the Etihad Stadium, the BT Sport pundit stated: "No chance. In my opinion, not at all.

"It would be amazing but the whole of Barcelona would cause chaos. The president would have to leave, the board would have to resign... it's as big as that.

"Everybody is looking after themselves over there so there's no chance."

Finally, as promised, there is some reaction from yesterday's 2-2 draw at West Ham to bring your way - though the press weren't too impressed with the Blues' display.

The Guardian's Sachin Nakrani reflects: "City deserve credit for their refusal to roll over and die, coming back as they did twice from going behind, with Agüero cancelling out Valencia’s opening goal after just 53 seconds via a ninth-minute penalty.

"But a team of their quality and ambitions should not be in those positions in the first place and there remains the feeling that while they are in the thick of the title race, City will once again fall short.

"Without doubt Arsenal and Leicester, who returned to the summit after their 3-0 victory over Stoke, are playing better than Pellegrini’s men."

Sam Wallace of the Independent scribes: "Sergio Aguero saved them with two goals, and it as telling that those two shots plus an effort in injury time at the end of the game was the sum total of City’s attempts on target.

"City emerged with a single point against a very good West Ham side but when consider City’s ambitions – and you consider their players – it should be so much better."

The rest follow in similar vein...

That's all for today in terms of Blue headlines but stay tuned to mcfc.co.uk throughout the day for more post-match analysis and match highlights from Upton Park.

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Match Report

West Ham 2-2 City

City twice fought back from behind to earn a point after an entertaining 2-2 draw with West Ham.