Manchester City are ready to offer John Stones a new contract, according to reports.
The England international appeared to be on his way out of the Etihad Stadium last season.
Pep Guardiola regularly picked Fernandinho, a midfielder by trade, ahead of Stones at centre-back.
However, Stones was brought in from the cold to start in the 5-0 victory over Burnley (opens in new tab) in late November.
The former Everton (opens in new tab) man has kept his place ever since, forming a rock-solid partnership with Dias.
City have kept a Premier League-high 13 clean sheets this season, while no team has conceded fewer than their 14 goals.
City’s defensive record has been the key factor behind their rise to the top of the table, with Guardiola’s side now five points clear of the chasing pack.
And City are now set to offer Stones a new contract in a bid to secure his long-term future, according to The Times (opens in new tab).
The club also want to reward the England international for his impressive return to form.
Stones’ current deal runs until the summer of 2022, and a failure to extend his contract would lead to interest from elsewhere at the end of the campaign.
Arsenal (opens in new tab) had previously been linked with a move for the 26-year-old when he was out of favour at the Etihad.
But Guardiola has made it clear to his bosses that he wants Stones to still be part of his squad next season.
City are competing on four fronts this term, and they will be looking to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup by beating Swansea on Wednesday.
Guardiola’s side will then face Tottenham (opens in new tab), their opponents in April’s League Cup final, in the Premier League this weekend.
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