Everton have been fighting a losing battle to keep hold of highly-rated young centre-back John Stones since he put in a transfer request last summer when Chelsea had numerous bids rejected for the promising youngster.
Everton stubbornly rejected the bids and the 22-year-old stayed in Merseyside.
However, it seems the vultures are circling around the defender once again, as Manchester City are believed to be interested in the defender.
In fact the Daily Mail claims that the defender will once again put in a transfer request, as he wishes to move to the Etihad Stadium.
Everton should bite City’s hands-off
According to the same report in the Mail, the Toffees have slapped a price tag of around £50million on the defender and if they get an offer of anywhere near that the Merseysiders should slap Pep Guardiola’s nicely tans hand off.
This is not an assessment of John Stones potential ability. This is an assessment of watching him be a liability for the Toffees for at least half of last season. Everton leaked goals at an alarming rate under Roberto Martinez and Stones was part of the problem.
No doubt the 22-year-old has more ability with a football than a lot of defenders, but he does not have to re-enact Franz Beckenbauer’s career highlights every time he gets the ball. He is a defender and is there to stop the opposition scoring goals.
Unfortunately his positional play is poor, which may improve with the right training or even with experience, but maybe it will not. If anything Stones has gone backwards in his development in the past year, maybe he has started to believe some of his own hype.
Most Evertonians would have said sell the defender at the end of last season under Martinez, but the arrival of Ronald Koeman as seems have changed the situation, only slightly though.
Koeman is the perfect mentor for Stones
As attacking defenders go new Toffees boss Koeman is considered one of the best of the modern era. The Dutchman scored an incredible 193 goals in 535 league appearances during his career, which makes him the highest scoring defender in the history of top level domestic football.
Granted he did play in midfield at times, but he also played as a sweeper and centre-back, which showed his versatility and quality as a player.
Who better for Stones to develop under than a man of Koeman’s abilities? Koeman could help Stones fulfil his supposed potential. Martinez was definitely not the right man to teach him how to harness his ability, but the Dutchman with his experience of playing in a similar position could be.
The Dutchman will no doubt speak to the youngster about his future, if he has not already. However there a sense on Merseyside that if Stones says he wants to go Koeman will let him go and spend the money elsewhere.
It seems new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants Stones to join him at City. I suppose the former-Barcelona man is not a bad person to learn from either, but the fact that Koeman played in the same position as Stones and almost perfected it suggests he would bring more out of the youngster.
Everton could re-invest the money in two better defenders
There is a sense of a fresh start at Everton this summer with the arrival of Ronald Koeman and the new investment from majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
The Toffees are now being linked with bigger names in the transfer market and I suspect that anybody that wants to leave will be replaced pretty quickly. The Toffees do not need the money and do not need to sell Stones.
However, the defender seems to be asking to leave for a second consecutive summer and as a general rule the Toffees are not a club who keep players that do not want to stay.
Manchester City are currently favourites at odds of 4/11 to be Stones next club and something tells me he will be plying his trade at the Etihad Stadium next season.
Something also tells me that not many Everton fans will be crying tears if the youngster left. Some of them were even kind enough to offer the centre-back a lift up the M62, very kind of them!
I think he will be provided with a more luxurious journey to Manchester, but it remains to be seen if Guardiola and City will have been taken for a ride if they cough-up the mooted £50million fee for the defender this summer.
Should Everton sell John Stones this summer?