The 29-year-old centre back moved to the top of Pep Guardiola’s shopping list when the chances of Virgil Van Dijk moving to the Etihad slipped to 8/1 with bookmakers.
Albion are not in a rush to sell and are determined to make City pay a price which reflects the inflated transfer market. An £18m bid from the favourites for the Premier League title has already been rejected with The Guardian reporting that the Baggies are looking for a fee in the region of £30m.
Guardiola is looking for an experienced head to settle John Stones nerves at the club. Signed for a then-record £50m, the former Everton defender has looked nervous in the heart of City’s defence. The Spaniard is keen for an experienced Premier League defender to guide Stones through the next season and onto a prolonged career at the Etihad.
Last season’s title challenge collapsed as City’s soft-centre was punctured too frequently for consistency to take hold.
If a deal isn’t possible, Guardiola isn’t losing any sleep over it: “If we have to stay with the players we have right now we are happy,” he declared during yesterday’s pre-match press conference. Many clubs might baulk at spending £30m on a squad player but the pressure is on the Spaniard to deliver at home and abroad.