According to various sources, Everton defender John Stones has told the club of his desire to leave this summer with Manchester City and Chelsea linked with signature. The 22-year-old endured poor form in the 2015/16 season, while Everton greatly underachieved with consecutive bottom-half finishes in the Premier League, and Stones is seeking pastures anew as a result.
Chelsea saw their interest rebuffed in the centre-back last season. Everton rejected bids of around £45M last season as they signalled their interest to retain their most promising talents. However, the Merseyside club look set to let Stones leave this summer with Everton lining up a new centre-back in Kalidou Koulibaly as Stones’ likely replacement.
While Chelsea were keen to sign the England international last season with a number of lucrative bids, Manchester City are the bookies’ favourites to procure Stones’ signature this summer. New City manager Pep Guardiola is keen to recruit a defender proficient with the ball at his feet and someone who can pick out accurate long passes from deep.
Stones’ greatest strength has arguably been his ability in possession and his composure on the ball, two areas the Guardiola is desperate to harness in the City side next season. The Everton man would also tick the box for homegrown players too in a side with very few Englishman so it’s very likely the Sky Blues will do everything in their power to sign the former Barnsley man.
Boasting fantastic athleticism, versatility and pace, Stones has real promise as a modern-day defender, and he’s expected to be a regular in the England national team as preparations begin for their 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Manchester City are looking to part company with Martin Demichelis in the defence, leaving a place for Stones to replace him.
Fitness woes of Vincent Kompany and the inconsistent form of Eliaquim Mangala will see Guardiola keen to being in a new face, and Stones reportedly wants to make the switch to the Etihad Stadium before the players go off on their pre-season tour. Everton are resigned to keeping the centre-back but hold all the cards in regard to asking price as Stones has three years left on his deal.
Given Everton now have a lot of money in the bank, while being in no rush to sell their defender, Manchester City are likely to be force to pay a big transfer fee for John Stones this summer. Everton rejected £45M before, according to various sources, so City might have to pay in excess of that ahead of the new campaign.