The summer saga that is John Stones’ transfer to Manchester City has finally been resolved.
Everton have made a huge profit on their initial £3million outlay and the citizens have the intelligent ball playing defender Pep Guardiola has been craving, to kick start his Etihad revolution.
But is this move too early in his fledgling career? A fee of almost £50million for a defender whose main asset isn’t his defensive skills may seem like lunacy.
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Last season was an error-strewn campaign, where over-playing lead to many point-losing mistakes. Criticism came pouring down from all quarters, times that by ten now he’s at the epicentre of English football in Manchester.
If he’d stayed at Everton and been tutored by defensive great Ronald Koeman, his blunders may have gone under the radar and he would have been allowed to continue his development without the suffocating pressure attached to such an eye watering price tag.
Yet now, every misplaced pass, mistimed tackle and failed clearance will be magnified and deconstructed by every pundit and supporter the land over.
And what of opposition forwards? It’s no secret that rival strikers would look to isolate Stones and expose his slight frame whenever the chance arose. The physical aspect of English football was never something the young ace relished, which he’ll need to remedy quickly if he is not to become a weak link in the City backline.
Yet the fact Jose Mourinho was so obsessive in his pursuit last season and Guardiola so desperate to capture the youngster too, highlights Stones’ qualities. It’s very rare indeed that the two old adversaries ever agree on anything.