When you are a young lad from Barnsley you only dream of one day playing for one of EuropeÂ’s top clubs and playing in the Champions League, however for one youngster by the name of John Stones that dream could soon be a reality
The 21 year old centre back has gone from strength to strength since breaking into the Everton first team back in 2013 and has earned himself links to top clubs such as Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United, as well as earning 7 appearances for his country.
ItÂ’s fair to say that when young English players are bursting on to the scene people can get a bit carried away, just look at Raheem Sterling for example
ThereÂ’s no question he has talent but Â£49 million for a 20 year old seems slightly ludicrous even in the current financial times and the fact that heÂ’s English IÂ’m sure added a couple of million pounds to that price tag
John Stones has already almost been prized away by a team with financial power, after Chelsea came knocking Stones put in a transfer request as he saw an opportunity for a move to a bigger club
Everton however, made it clear that the centre back wasnÂ’t for sale after turning down a hefty Â£38 million bid
ItÂ’s difficult to blame either party in a situation such as this, from EvertonÂ’s point of view they have a huge rising talent that they believe can help them progress and chase the European spots with other youngsters such as Barkley and Lukaku
From John Stones perspective though a move to Chelsea(still in the Champions League despite their poor form) is a chance to better himself playing with world class players not to mention a big pay rise (not that IÂ’m suggesting he is money motivated) People often criticise footballers for their lack of loyalty but a chance to work at a better company for more money IÂ’m not sure how many people would turn that down.
With the January transfer window open rumours start to gather pace but itÂ’s unlikely Everton are going to sell one of their prized assets mid way through a league campaign
Manchester United are another club linked with Stones and the Manchester club may be a great fit with Van Gaal having to use out of position players as cover
Rio Ferdinand made a similar move from Leeds when he was a young player and never looked back making over 300 appearances for the club which included 6 Premier League titles and a Champions League medal
The former Manchester United defender also recently called in to Talk Sport to defend the youngster after he received criticism over a mistake in the EvertonÂ’s 4-3 loss to Stoke
If Stones were to move to Old Trafford it could mean potentially that three of EnglandÂ’s back four play for United with Smalling and Shaw already at the club
Playing alongside the two would only enhance John Stones chances of becoming an England regular
Over the other side of Manchester Stones could also be tempted away from Goodison Park by Manchester City
The blues have had massive defensive problems this season without their skipper Vincent Kompany for the most part and Stones could help strengthen CityÂ’s back four, City will probably remain outsiders despite having the funds due to already spending more than Â£60m on the current partnership of Otamendi and Mangala.
From Barnsley to Barcelona would be some headline, in a poll ran by Spanish daily sport 75% of fans said they would like to sign Stones
Gerald Pique also added fuel to speculation after he surprisingly included Stones in his World XI
ItÂ’s fair to say it would be near impossible for Everton to prevent a move if Barcelona came knocking, if they could assure Stones that first team football was guaranteed it would be bizarre of him to turn it down
Huge chance at La Liga titles, fighting for the Champions League and a chance to play with the worlds best in front of 100Â’000 people would be an incredible opportunity for Stones
He would also become the first Englishmen to play for the Spanish giants since Gary Linekar back in 1989.
At the moment the speculation is just that, speculation
John Stones is only 21 years of age and hopefully has a long career ahead of him
Everton sit 11th in the table and he may see that as underachieving and perhaps restricting his opportunities
Staying at the Merseyside club wonÂ’t hurt his reputation though as he will gain Premier League experience without the pressure of a hefty price tag on his shoulders
ChelseaÂ’s current league position and managerial situation may discourage Stones
Pep Guardiola has made it clear he wants a move to the Premier League and if he sees Stones as the right fit for his plans he could tempt Stones to one of the Manchester clubs
One thing is for sure that if John Stones carries on performing the way he has done it would be hard to see him still at Everton come the 2016/17 season.
Source : DSG