John Stones to Manchester City? Is he the right man for them?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 24, 2016
The summer transfer window is starting to pick up the pace as the new Premier League season is just under three weeks away. One name that doesn’t fail to fuel speculation in transfer windows is Everton and England centre half John Stones.
Last summer Chelsea had a £33 million offer rejected on deadline day and remained at Everton. Now this summer after playing a total of 44 games for club and country during the 15/16 season, averaging an overall rating of 6.85, it is being reported that Manchester City are readying a £50 million bid for the Everton defender, which has come under a lot of scrutiny.
Stones made the move to Goodison Park on transfer deadline day in January 2013, signing a five-and-a-half year deal. The defender, aged 18 at the time, arrived at Goodison Park from hometown club Barnsley for an undisclosed fee.
Stones’ first full season proved a breakout one for the young English centre back. He appeared for England against Norway and Switzerland, he also made 28 appearances for the Everton in all competitions. The highlight of his season with Everton was no doubt the 3-0 win over Manchester United. Stones registered his first Everton goal with a brilliant header past David De Gea. Impressing in the 14/15 season led to Chelsea skipper John Terry having this to say on Stones:
“I have seen a lot of games and I am a big fan of his. He pulls wide of the box and wants the ball and for a young defender to do that in the Premier League takes some guts.”
Last season, the Englishman played for Everton 41 times and earned a place in the England squad for Euro 2016 the following summer, although he did not feature in any of the national side’s four matches in France. Furthermore, Barcelona defender and one of the world’s best defenders Gerard Pique, named the Everton centre half in his world XI to most people’s surprise. The Spanish international was quoted saying to The Telegraph: “Now I think John Stones is a really, really, good player. He will have a good career.”
However, last season wasn’t all praise for the Englishman. A couple of shaky performances and uneasiness led to high profile pundits including Paul Merson criticising Stones’ positioning and his decision making. Merson was quoted saying his positioning and decision making while under pressure is “bordering on atrocious” and also said “he should take heed from the great defenders of the past, such as Tony Adams and Paul McGrath, by kicking the ball into row z when under pressure.” Nevertheless a lot of people would agree that John Stones has the potential to be a top player and a bright future ahead of him for club and country.
So would he be the right man for Manchester City?
It is well known that Pep Guardiola’s style of play involves his side dominating possession, passing effectively and building attacks from defence. This is a man who led Barcelona to it’s glory days and invented the famous term ‘tiki-taka’.
One of the Spaniards major jobs will be to re-shape his backline, which will be pivotal if he wants to suceed at City. A ball-playing centre half is what he craves the most, this is why it isn’t a surprise John Stones has been heavily linked with a move to the Eithad.
At Guardiola’s recent club Bayern München, he has played Xabi Alonso and David Alaba in central defence which is not their natural position. It might have been a gamble but it certainly paid off as they thrived in their unnatural position. I think it’s fair to say Pep isn’t afraid of gambling. Guardiola wants players who are comfortable playing from the back, this is why Stones might be the one for Guardiola. John might receive criticism that he overplays from the back, but this is what Guardiola does, he takes gambles. He’s seen what a good passer of the ball John is.
The England international is only 22 and is still developing. Also what better defender is there to learn off than two time Premier League winner Vincent Kompany? There is no denying that John Stones is one of the most exciting young prospects in the game, and crucially, remains secure despite criticism and some shaky games for Everton. He needs worked on but Guardiola would definitely improve Stones and would view Stones as a real talent and an asset to his side. So yes, you could argue Manchester City is the right club for John Stones.