Arsenal and Everton are ready to go head-to-head for the pursuit of Manchester City defender John Stones.
According to a report published by The Sun, Arsenal and Everton are ready to battle it out for the services of Manchester City centre back John Stones.
Stones joined City from Everton in 2016 for a fee of €50 million, a transfer that made him the costliest defender in the world at the time. After a slow start to life in Manchester, Stones adapted well but has failed to live upto his price tag and the expectations that came with it since.
He was instrumental in the first half of last season, playing alongside Aymeric Laporte, but was replaced by Vincent Kompany when their campaign went from tough to really intense as they battled out for the top spot against Liverpool. He has failed to win back that spot since, and his injuries over the last year have not helped either.
The Englishman has clocked in 12 games this season out of City’s 32, and at the moment is their fifth-choice option behind Eric Garcia, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi. All this has acted as a catalyst for the transfer rumours that have fired up recently.
Arsenal are one of the parties interested in chasing his signature, and a move to London could well be on the cards for Stones. Mikel Arteta has clearly worked on Arsenal’s defence and has improved it, but there are still some major issues that remain to be addressed. One od the problem is that the Gunners do not have quality depth at the back.
The London outfit has signed Pablo Mari on a permanent deal and William Saliba is on his way to join them as soon as the 2020/21 season begins, but the leap to Premier League for both these players may turn out to be too huge to cover in one season. Subsequently, it would be wise to invest in an experienced centre back.
A return to Goodison, too, can be on the cards for Stones who face centre back problems of their own. Mason Holgate is the only nailed on centre back under Carlo Ancelotti with Yeri Mina and Michael Keane trading spots. Moreover, Mina faced a lot of injury worries this season which puts the backline in jeopardy leaving just two fit first choice centre backs.
As a result the Italian gaffer has resorted to using Seamus Coleman as a centre back at times when they play with a three-man backline. Stones might be able to fit right in Ancelotti’s project as a fast defender who can pass the ball rather well.
Both the destinations would be ideal for John Stones who is way out of favour under Pep Guardiola. And if a move for Kalidou Koulibaly is on the cards for City, the 26-year-old should move out as soon as he can.