Yesterday I talked about Barcelona activating a buy-back clause in the contract of Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu.
However speculation is mounting that the European champions maybe interested in another Toffees player.
Respected Spanish journalist Guillem Balague was recently asked if any English player would get into either the Real Madrid or Barcelona team.
The question was asked due to Spain’s big two going head-to-head at the Bernabeu this evening in El Clasico. Balague’s answer to the question was unsurprising, as he named Everton centre-back John Stones as the only current English who could fit into either of the Spanish giant’s teams.
Often English players are overhyped and overpriced. However in Stones case I do not believe that is the case. At 21-years-old of age Stones has the football world at his feet. The youngster has a maturity beyond his years and is quite unique in the English game.
The former-Barnsley star has been described as a ball-playing centre-back, which English football very rarely produces. Stones has been compared in style to former-England and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand, in the fact that he has the ability to come out of defence with the ball and make proper use of it.
He is far from the archetypal English blood and thunder centre-back that the English football is perceived to produce. Stones attributes are natural and cannot be taught. However Stones is still a gem that needs to be polished.
Improvement still needed
The youngster has the ability to come out of defence, but that offers the opposition the chance to win the ball. His style of play will is always invite danger, but that is part of his talent.
When he is on his game he can have an influence on his team’s attacking play as well, but he will learn not to give the ball away as much when he matures slightly. He must know when he can run into midfield with the ball and when not to, without knocking out his sheer ability with the ball.
Ironically, hardly anybody talks about Stones as a defender, but rather talk about his ability on the ball. His presence in the Everton back four definitely gives his teammates confidence because he shows such confidence on the ball.
However, at times his defensive positioning could be questioned. That defensive positioning can be developed though. Experience will improve the youngster as a defender and that will see him become a far better all-round player.
Stones has massive potential and is expected to have a bright future. No doubt he will do what he needs to do to fulfil that promise.
An expensive prospect
Everton batted away transfer interest from Chelsea in the summer. Toffees boss Roberto Martinez rejected a transfer request from the youngster, as the reigning Premier League champions launched bid after bid for the highly-rated young defender.
Stones must be so glad he stayed at Everton and did not move to fight a relegation battle with Jose Mourinho’s team! He is at least at a team who are looking to challenge for the European places.
Joking aside though, John Stones is one of the brightest young defenders in European football and interest in him will come from far and wide. His suitors look unlikely to go away anytime soon.
The latest speculation has Stones linked with £45million moves to both Barcelona and Manchester United. That is a lot of money for a youngster who has made just over a half century of Premier League games.
However it is a sign of just how highly-rated that Stones really is that he is being talked about as a £45million player. Maybe the English player over inflated factor also comes in here as well.
Everton will win whatever happens though. If John Stones to a high standard and is still being chased by the major big boys, Barcelona and the likes, then it will mean he is helping the Toffees keep clean sheets. That will obviously help the clubs progress.
The side from Merseyside bought Stones for just £3million and are in line to make a hefty profit if the inevitable happens and John Stones does leave the club in the near future.
At the moment Stones has big promise. Unfortunately though that is unlikely to be fulfilled at Everton and he does currently look like he could develop into a player capable of playing for truly top teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Could John Stones play for Real Madrid or Barcelona?