Manchester City’s long pursuit of Everton defender John Stones took an intriguing twist on Tuesday when UEFA’s website listed the England defender in Pep Guardiola’s squad for their Champions League play-off tie with Steaua Bucharest.
All teams participating in the play-off round had to submit their final squads to European football’s governing body by 11pm on Monday night.
And Stones’ name appeared in between Gael Clichy and Jason Denayer on the City club page.
There was no Vincent Kompany, who is currently injured, while the likes of Wilfried Bony, Samir Nasri and Eliaquim Mangala – all thought to have an uncertain future under Guardiola – were also not listed.
Guardiola has confirmed Stones is a target but City have yet to agree a fee with Everton for the 22-year-old with the Toffees reported to be holding out for £50million.
Last week, Guardiola said: “He is still a player from Everton.
“The question is about the market, so [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain is the right person.
“I know how it works here in England. I am just a trainer. I give my opinion, my advice to the club and the club decide what’s best.”
UEFA later released a statement to confirm it was not an administrative error at their end and that City had requested Stones’ name be included.
The statement read: “UEFA received all UEFA Champions League play-off squad lists ahead of the midnight CET deadline on 08 August 2016.
“As is standard procedure, the lists were automatically published on UEFA.com once they were approved and entered into the UEFA competition database.”
In a separate response to Omnisport, a UEFA spokesperson said: “He was included in the list sent by the club and confirmed by the FA.”