How does £47.5m Stones fit into Manchester City’s defence?

John Stones completed his £47.5 million move from Everton to Manchester City on Tuesday morning, making him the most expensive defender in Premier League history.

The 22-year-old centre-back has penned a six-year deal and will be looking to develop into one of the game’s best defenders under Pep Guardiola’s guidance at The Etihad.

Stones became the second most expensive defensive signing in world football, behind £50 million PSG star David Luiz, but just where will he fit into Guardiola’s City defence this season?

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Although he is capable of playing at right-back, Stones is a natural ball-playing central defender and will be expecting to play in the heart of the Citizens back four, as opposed to on the right flank.

That gives Guardiola an instant selection headache, with Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany the current first-choice pairing when fit. Eliaquim Mangala and Jason Denayer are also fighting for a place in Guardiola’s defence, so Stones is by no means guaranteed a starting berth with his new side.

Table: John Stones' 2015/16 Premier League statistics compared to Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi (stats via Squawka).

Table: John Stones’ 2015/16 Premier League statistics compared to Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi (stats via Squawka).

Looking at Stones’ statistics from last season, compared to Otamendi and Kompany’s, it is clear he is a different type of defender to his new teammates.

Stones boasted a pass completion rate of 89% over the course of the last campaign – only three centre-backs had a better record in the top flight last term – while the young England star also won more tackles and interceptions than Kompany per 90 minutes.

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The issue is that Stones is weaker in the air than Otamendi and Kompany, with the bigger concern the fact that he made three errors leading to opposition goals last year.

The Barnsley academy product likes to bring the ball out of defence and look for a teammate, as opposed to clearing his lines when receiving the ball. But that does lead to mistakes and he will need to have his decision-making improved by Guardiola.

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If fit, Vincent Kompany will start for City. He is their captain, their leader, and one of the game’s finest defenders. But simply dropping Otamendi to accommodate Stones seems like a bold decision, given the fact that the Argentine made more tackles, blocks, clearances and interceptions than any other City defender last season.

Stones will be available to start City’s Premier League opener at home to Sunderland on Saturday evening and it will now be intriguing to see whether he finds himself in the starting lineup from the word ‘go’.

Should John Stones be a first-choice centre-back for Manchester City? Is he better than Nicolas Otamendi?

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Are City right to be chasing this £72m trio of Premier League stars?

Manchester City look set to spend big once again this summer as incoming manager Pep Guardiola is looking to overhaul the squad ahead of his first season in the Premier League.

There are a number of high-profile names across Europe being linked with summer moves to the Etihad, with the latest reports suggesting three Premier League stars are being targeted.

A report in the Sun claims City will splash the cash to try and bring Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Everton’s John Stones to the club in the coming months.

That trio of top flight talent is worth around £72 million, according to Transfermarkt’s valuations of each player.

But would those three players improve City ahead of next season’s title charge?

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal – Estimated value: £41.25 million

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Sanchez has been a real hit at Arsenal since moving to the Premier League from Barcelona in July 2014. He ended the last campaign with 13 goals and five assists in 30 league appearances and also performed remarkably well in the Champions League, contributing to eight goals in seven outings. Guardiola signed Sanchez from Udinese while managing Barcelona in 2011 and would love to be reunited with the pacey Chilean at City.

Verdict: Arsenal would do everything in their power to stop their star man leaving for City but it could ultimately come down to where Sanchez himself would prefer to be playing football next season. A move looks unlikely but City won’t be afraid of splashing the cash to land a player as good as Alexis Sanchez. Pairing him with Sergio Aguero in attack would give City one of the most devastating attacks in world football and Guardiola knows how to get the best out of the 27-year-old winger.

Danny Rose – Tottenham – Estimated value: £8.25 million

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Danny Rose is once again being linked with a move to the Etihad. The England left-back was reportedly a target for the club last summer but no formal offer was made and he continued to develop at White Hart Lane under Mauricio Pochettino instead. He looks to be a key part of the Spurs team and they would not be prepared to sell to a Premier League rivals. He will travel to Euro 2016 this summer with England and could see his stock rise further if he starts for Roy Hodgson.

Verdict: His estimated value of £8.25 million seems far too low for an England international who is set to be playing Champions League football next term. City might look to table an offer, with Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy both potentially leaving, but Rose is still not that sound defensively, with his main contributions coming on the attacking side of the ball. If Guardiola wants a bombarding fullback, then Rose could be the man. But if not, they should probably look elsewhere.

John Stones – Everton – Estimated value: £22.5 million

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John Stones looks increasingly likely to leave Goodison Park this summer, with several clubs reportedly interested in his services. He will be 22 by the time the new season starts and is still extremely young for a centre-back. He has shown promise and is a confident ball-playing defender, but now needs the right guidance to help him reach his potential. He will be with England at Euro 2016 and his stock will only rise if he impresses at the tournament.

Verdict: City are in need of another central defender, with Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis both failing to inspire over the past two seasons. Vincent Kompany has ongoing injury troubles, while Nicolas Otamendi was inconsistent, so bringing in a young player like Stones makes sense as Guardiola could mould him to perfectly fit his possession-based style of play. He won’t come cheap but would surely be worth the investment.

Do you think Manchester City should be chasing the trio mentioned above? Which of the three should be the main target?

Stats: Is John Stones the answer to Chelsea’s early defensive crisis?

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.

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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.

Table: John Stones' Premier League statistics over past two seasons compared to John Terry and Gary Cahill

Table: John Stones’ Premier League statistics over past two seasons compared to John Terry and Gary Cahill (via Squawka)

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?

Chelsea and City set to battle for ‘next John Terry’ – report

Chelsea and Manchester City are considering an offer for Everton‘s John Stones as a long-term investment, according to the Daily Mail.

Stones has been under the watch of Chelsea scouts for the past 18 months and is reportedly seen as a long-term replacement for captain John Terry.

The 20-year-old central defender has impressed over the last two seasons and is tipped to be one of the best in the country as he continues to develop.

Chelsea’s search for John Terry’s replacement may seem premature given that he has played every minute of their Premier League season, but they will need to move quickly for Stones if City are interested.

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This summer could be a good time for Chelsea to sign Stones as his development would be helped by Terry. The former England captain has a formidable partnership with Gary Cahill, who has gone from strength-to-strength since signing for the club in 2012.

Manchester City are targeting younger British stars to meet homegrown quota regulations, and Stones is an ideal candidate. The Englishman has four caps and has become one of the first names on the team-sheet for Roberto Martinez.

City’s defence has been questioned this season as they failed to put up much of a challenge for the Premier League title and Manuel Pellegrini is expected to strengthen his options this summer.

Everton are not looking to offload Stones but with the financial power of Chelsea and City they could well be forced into accepting bids upwards of £20 million for their starlet.

Stones has been likened to Terry for his no nonsense and calm approach. He netted his first Everton goal in their 3-0 win over Manchester United last month with a powerful header.

Will Stones move on this summer? Could he be the next John Terry?