But Chelsea are keen to strengthen at the back themselves having ended the season with the worst record of any top-half team despite finishing fourth, leaking 54 goals.

And Frank Lampard may believe he can get the best from the ball-playing Stones, who was previously regarded as one of England’s best defensive prospects and clearly has ample talent although he is not a week-in, week-out starter at City.

It’s added that even before the potential sale of Stones, who earns £100,000 a week at the Etihad, City can offer Carlos higher personal terms if they have to battle it out with Liverpool.

But offloading Stones would give them even more financial clout to both strengthen their own squad and also deal a blow to their rivals’ apparent plans.

And it would also allow them to help convince the central defender that he would be an integral part of Guardiola’s plans.

Carlos is said to earn as little as £18,000 a week with his current deal at Sevilla and would expect to command a significant pay-rise whether he moved to Manchester or Merseyside.

With City closing in on their first signing of the summer with Valencia’s Ferran Torres to replace Leroy Sane, alternative targets to Carlos include Kalidou Koulibaly, Nathan Ake, Pau Torres and Ruben Dias.