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.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his team have learned from the mistakes of last season after maintaining their superb start to the new campaign.
City beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday to move clear at the top of the Premier League with three wins from as many games.
Pellegrini’s men have scored eight goals and conceded none, playing with pace and fluidity in attack and strength in defence. After last season’s disappointing runners-up finish to Chelsea, City are looking formidable.
Pellegrini said: “This team, in the last three seasons, has been the team that always plays the best football but we made a lot of mistakes in games that seemed easy (last season).
“Normally we are a team that goes forward, plays attractive football, tries to score goals and doesn’t change the style. Even in the worst moments of last season I continued thinking in the way we must play and we will continue.
“But if you want to be an offensive team and to score goals it is very important to know how to defend, sometimes with 11 players, sometimes eight, sometimes five.
“The back line have played very well in the three games. All of them are in a high performance. There are a lot of things that all together make us a good team at this moment.”
City were tested by the Toffees but broke through with a goal from Aleksandar Kolarov on the hour. Substitute Samir Nasri made victory certain in the 88th minute. Pellegrini downplayed the strong message to rivals that his side’s performances might be sending out.
He said: “We are not clear about that. We are just clear about winning the next game. Now we have won we must think about Watford. What other the teams think about our team is not our problem.”
Everton were watched by River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori and manager Roberto Martinez admitted a deal for the 24-year-old could be close.
Meanwhile, club director Jon Woods insisted they are standing firm over John Stones and will not be selling him. Woods said: “I won’t sell him, Bill (Kenwright) won’t sell him, because there aren’t many days to go.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho refused to blame John Terry after his dismissal at West Brom – but believes appealing the red could be a waste of time.
The defender was sent off early in the second half for pulling back Salomon Rondon to continue his difficult start to the season. Chelsea hung on for a 3-2 win at The Hawthorns to record their first Premier League victory of the season after Pedro’s debut goal set them on course for the win.
Terry retained his place after being substituted during last week’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City and Mourinho feels appealing the sending off would not be worth it.
He said: “Normally it’s a waste of time for us, I think we should but normally it’s a waste of time. (Nemanja) Matic against Burnley last year was a waste of time, Diego Costa against Liverpool was a waste of time.
“No (I don’t blame him), it’s a ball into the space behind the fullback, the fullback is pressing high, the striker makes the movement and then (referee) Mr Clattenburg decides it’s a red card. “To speak about the sending off I have to speak about many other things in the game. Some things you can see and some things we can see.
“I prefer just to focus on us. Tomorrow the back pages have to be different because we won.”
And Mourinho admitted, after a second red card of the season, the team must train to cope with it. He added: “To train 10 v 11 is something we have to do and I’m not joking. We have to know what to do.”
Pedro’s goal, his first since arriving from Barcelona last week, set Chelsea up for a hard-fought victory as the hosts pushed them all the way following Terry’s red card.
Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta also netted in the first half after Thibaut Courtois saved James Morrison’s early penalty, before the midfielder scored twice. Pedro impressed before being substituted late on and Mourinho believes he proved he can cut it in the Premier League.
— Mou (@josecfcmourinho) August 23, 2015
He said: “He’s a very good player, there is always a question mark because how many top players come to England and don’t perform immediately. People ask if he is the right player, can he adapt? We have examples in our club and there are lots of examples in other clubs, it’s very nice for him to perform the way he did.”
The Baggies are still searching for their first win of the season after defeats to the champions and Manchester City.
BossTony Pulis dropped Saido Berahino from the squad after Albion rejected a bid from Tottenham for the striker last week and Pulis decided the England under-21 international was not in the right frame of mind to play after the speculation.
He said: “He is fine, there’s no problems but it’s the transfer window which causes the problems. He needs to be protected. No-one should have this problem.”