Manchester City splash out on Eve on defender Stones
MANCHESTER City splashed out a reported £47.5 million (US$61 million) to sign England defender John Stones from Everton to a six-year-deal yesterday.
“I’m absolutely delighted to sign for City and now the deal’s done I’m looking forward to the next stage in my career,” Stones told City’s website.
News of Stones’ imminent move to Eastlands had leaked earlier in the day when UEFA’s website included the 22-year-old centre-back City’s squad for next week’s Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucharest.
City responded by quickly announcing the deal, which puts Stones behind only Brazil star David Luiz as the most expensive defender ever.
Luiz moved to Paris Saint Germain from Chelsea for £50 million in 2014 and has won two successive French titles, a feat that Stones is keen to emulate with City.
Stones’ signing takes City manager Pep Guardiola’s spending to well over £100 million since he arrived from Bayern Munich in the close-season.
Guardiola, who has also signed Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Alexander Zinchenko, believes Stones perfectly fits his strategy of having defenders who are as proficient in possession as in tackling.
Stones, who has won 10 England caps, had hoped to join Chelsea last year, and had a transfer request rejected when the London club’s bids were snubbed by Everton.
Everton allowed their prize asset to leave Goodison Park just hours after City’s bitter rivals Manchester United completed a world record £89 million swoop for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba (see related story above).
Stones’ arrival is a huge boost for Guardiola ahead of City’s Premier League opener at home to Sunderland on August 13. The new coach had limited options at centre-back with Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi all struggling with injuries, and only the latter included in the Champions League squad for the Steaua clash. –