With just a week remaining of the summer transfer window, the possible switch of Everton defender John Stones to title-hopefuls Chelsea remains one of the last big ongoing sagas.
The Blues are reported to have had bids up to £30 million rejected for the versatile England centre-back, while Everton insist they will continue to bat back any further offers. Despite those claims, it is believed Chelsea could well return with a further improved package.
Feelings are mixed with regards to the benefits of a move for the player himself, with some believing a move to a top side will aid his development. Others, though, suggest the guaranteed playing time Everton currently offer is of much greater value.
Our #360debate today is: Would a transfer to Chelsea be the right move for John Stones?
Matt Monaghan, reporter, thinks YES.
John Stones should not blink for one second if – and it is a big if – Everton finally give in to Chelsea’s incessant demands to sign him this summer.
The England centre-back has served his time with the Toffees. Like many other Britons also aged 21, the moment has arrived for him to finish his schooling and graduate to the big leagues.
The Barnsley youth product is a thoroughbred, possessing the type of talent which only comes around once a decade in England. The similarities to the recently-retired Rio Ferdinand are apt. Both possess a calmness on the ball befitting a cultured midfielder, yet there desire to dig in and keep out the finest attackers should not be underestimated.
An innate fear of success and rapid elevation is intrinsic to the British sporting psyche. Nations like Australia and United States have never been scared of rapid promotions – if you are good enough, you are old enough. Stones should not be daunted by the challenge to usurp countrymen John Terry and Gary Cahill. He should embrace it.
Terry is rightly a legend at Stamford Bridge, but the rigours of time appear to have caught up with him. Cahill is far more experienced than Stones, yet his defensive acumen is not as refined.
The safety-first argument goes another season of regular football at Goodison Park will see Stones into the Three Lions starting line-up for next summer’s Euro 2016. But what better way to prove this – once and for all – than dumping Cahill out of his club side? England boss Roy Hodgson could not fail to ignore such a demonstration.
There is rightly a fear of becoming lost in the Chelsea swirl, a problem Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips can attest to. Neither of those players possess the prodigious talent of Stones.
This fearsome ability was on show when the Toffees hosted Manchester City on Sunday. But Stones should be facing Manuel Pellegrini’s men in matches which truly matter, helping decide title fights rather than mid-table bonus points.
James Piercy, deputy editor, thinks NO.
There is still some way to go with this transfer, indeed within Everton there remains a confidence that John Stones will still be a Toffee on September 2. However, irrespective of what may materialise from west London in the way of millions of pounds thrust towards Bill Kenwright, that should be what Stones should also be thinking.
Chelsea is an easy sell. A Champions League-playing club in London with silverware a near-guarantee each season. There is also the chance to play under Jose Mourinho, a manager whose aura remains considerable to anyone who has been involved in football since 2003.
BREAKING: Everton manager Roberto Martinez says he is not aware of any transfer request from John Stones. #SSNHQ
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) August 21, 2015
Financially, his wages will comfortably exceed his salary at Goodison Park and his status in the game is enhanced just by merely being ‘a Chelsea player’. But there are red flags for Stones that should make him think twice before he is seduced by the glamour of the Bridge.
Firstly, he is nowhere near the finished product. He is yet to make 50 Premier League appearances, let alone starts, and the Stones of now will be a very different player in 12 months time. In order to progress and grow as a player he needs minutes.
Kurt Zouma is, along with Raphael Varane, the most promising centreback in French football. League starts since his transfer from St Etienne in January 2014: eight.
If Stones stays at Everton and remains fit he will start 38 Premier League games. It’s difficult to see the same situation at Chelsea.
Stones has only four England caps to his name and is far from established in Roy Hodgson’s set-up. With Euro 2016 around the corner, is that a risk worth taking?
Then there’s Mourinho’s slightly suspect history with younger players. Whether at Inter or Madrid, he values experience above all. The list of those he has done little to aid the development of in the last few years is notable: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Alvaro Morata, Casemiro and Dani Carvajal.
Time is very much on his side and if Stones is as good as we think he is, he can make that big-money move in a few years time. For now, the opportunity to play Premier League football and all that leads to should be the most important pull for him.