John Stones is ready to join Pep Guardiola’s revolution at Manchester City and has told Everton he wants to leave the club, according to an exclusive in the Liverpool Echo.
22-year-old Stones is reported to have told new Everton boss Ronald Koeman that he wants to join Guardiola, a close friend of Koeman, at the Etihad, and hopes a move can gather pace this week. The England defender is due to return to Everton next week, but wants to begin pre-season training under the tutelage of Guardiola.
Stones has been one of City’s primary targets for months now, and he has the skill set of a typical Guardiola defender. Comfortable with the ball at his feet and when under pressure, he is an elegant passer with an average pass completion rate of almost 90% during his three seasons in the Everton first team.
City want Stones, Stones wants City, and Everton are not going to stand in his way, but a transfer fee could yet slow things down. In a market that is inflating faster than ever before, Everton are requesting around £50 million for Stones, even on the back of an underwhelming season. Guardiola will be confident he can develop the young centre-back into an elite player, as he did Jérôme Boateng, but the asking price is still very high.
City, though, are willing to go that high if necessary, according to recent reports, as they look to avoid missing out on a second young defensive target after Aymeric Laporte. Everton may want this deal done quickly, as they are locked in a battle with Chelsea to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who himself won’t come cheap.
For John Stones, it has become more a question of when he will join Manchester City, not if. The next week could be decisive for this deal and by the end of it we could see the defender in a lighter shade of blue.