Everton are currently fighting off the interest of Chelsea in highly-rated and talented young defender John Stones, with reports of a £20million bid rejected by the Merseysider’s for the former-Barnsley man.
In recent history Everton have had a history of financial trouble and selling some of their top players, but the Toffees are no longer in a position where they now have to sell their best players and Stones is certainly one of those.
John Stones is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in the Premier League and has emerged as a potential star of the future. The 21-year-old is regarded as a Rolls Royce of a defender and has even been compared to former-England international Rio Ferdinand in his style of play.
Stones can defend, but he also has the ability to step out of defence and make things happen for his team. He fits in perfectly with the way that Everton boss Roberto Martinez likes to play the game.
Last season it was apparent how important Stones is to the Everton cause. When the youngster was out of the team the Toffees conceded an alarming amount of goals, but his partnership with England international colleague Phil Jagielka helped solidify that defence.
A good defence is the key to any team being successful and without the youngster last season Everton were shambolic in defence at times. It is very rare for such a young player, especially a defender, to have such a big effect on his team’s performances.
The youngster has already talked about his partnership with his more senior England colleague and that he hopes to work on the partnership in the new season. He may not get the chance if he moves to Stamford Bridge.
The move to the Premier League champions must seem like a tempting one for any youngster. The prospect of being at a club where he will be challenging for the top honours and learning from some top quality players must also be tempting.
There is also the prospect of working with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who is regarded as one of the best bosses the game has ever seen.
However, the move would not be all good though, as there are also major negatives. The one major negative could be that his chances of first team football in south west London would be very limited.
Chelsea’s first choice centre-back pairing of John Terry and Gary Cahill will be in place for next season, while youngster Kurt Zouma is also highly-rated. Serbian full-back Branislav Ivanovic has also played in the centre of defence in his career.
Stones would face stiff competition to get anywhere near a Chelsea starting line-up in the Premier League and his appearances could be limited to cup games and the odd run-out for the Blues.
Sitting on the Chelsea bench, or playing the odd game is not going to help John Stones to fulfil his immense potential as a player. He has a bright future ahead of him in the game and not getting regular first team football at this stage of his career could jeopardise that.
If he stays at Everton then he will get regular games for a team that will be hoping to break back into the Premier League top six next season. It is not like he is playing for a small club.
Everton and John Stones are both looking to progress in the new campaign. The Toffees disappointing 11th place finish in the Premier League was their lowest in a long time and everybody at the club seems determined to put that right in the new campaign.
Stones is currently odds of 2/5 to be with Chelsea after the transfer window shuts in September, but for me it would not be the wisest move for the youngster at this stage of his development.
He is knocking on the door of the England squad, having featured regularly for the under-21 side and regular first team football at Everton has helped him achieve that. A move to Chelsea may halt his football development completely.
He would appear to be a good long-term signing for Chelsea, but it seems Stones staying on Merseyside for the time being is vital for the player and Everton as a football club, because they will never progress until they can keep their best players at the club.
Will John Stones join Chelsea this summer?