Chelsea have started the new Premier League season in abysmal form by their very lofty standards. The reigning champions fell 3-0 at Manchester City on Sunday, following their 2-2 home draw with Swansea and have just one point from a possible six – their worst start to a season since 1998.
It may not be time to press the panic button, but fingers will be leering towards it as last season’s best defence have already conceded five times in two games, with only Sunderland conceding more.
Young Everton centre-back John Stones has been identified as a man to fix their early defensive woes and Chelsea have stepped up their pursuit with a third bid for the player, believed to be in the region of £30 million.
The Toffees are desperate to keep hold of the 21-year-old, who already has four England caps, with the Express reporting that Chelsea may have to pay nearer to £40 million to land their man in a deal that would make him the most expensive defender in Premier League history.
But is he worth the risk? At 21, Stones still has a lot to learn. He is improving with every game he plays at Everton and is a guaranteed starter in the heart of Roberto Martinez’s defence alongside fellow England international Phil Jagielka.
A move to Chelsea would see him partner either Gary Cahill or John Terry, though a regular starting role is far from guaranteed if he does move to Stamford Bridge. Terry was substituted at halftime in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City but is expected to remain a first-team regular, so perhaps it is Cahill who is under more pressure.
As the statistics via Squawka in the table above show, John Stones has outperformed Terry and Cahill in terms of successful passes, tackles won, blocks and interceptions per game in the Premier League since the start of last season.
Terry has scored more goals than Stones or Cahill after grabbing five last term but he is outperformed statistically by both defenders in every other key area.
We’re only through two games this season but Stones has already won more tackles (5) than Terry and Cahill combined (2) and looks to be a defender with a really bright future.
The only question remains: What blue will John Stones be wearing after the transfer window closes – Everton’s or Chelsea’s?