We’ve already had one long transfer pursuit come to an end this week with Paul Pogba moving to Manchester United and now it’s time for their arch rivals Manchester City to once again flex their financial muscle as they complete the move for Everton Defender John Stones.
Stones moves for a fee of £47.5m, just under the original quoted asking price of £50m that Everton were after. That fee also makes Stones the second most expensive Defender in history with only David Luiz’s move to PSG from Chelsea eclipsing this one.
Stones was part of England’s Euro 2016 squad but didn’t get any minutes on the pitch as Roy Hodgson went with the more experienced pairing of Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling. Consider there were only three centre backs named in the final 23, Stones will have to consider himself unlucky not to have featured at some point during the tournament.
Disappointment with country was also matched by disappointment with club as Everton had a season of woeful under performance last time around. A season which saw Everton finish as low as 11th and that subsequently saw Roberto Martinez lose his job before the end of the campaign.
Stones himself also came in for some criticism as his tendency to play the ball from the back did see him caught out at times much to the ire of the Goodison faithful. But now he will be playing under Pep Guardiola that kind of football will be all the more encouraged.
What does Guardiola see in Stones that makes him want to part with the best part of £50m. He’ll see a 22 year old who has already got a raft of international experience at such an early age and also arguably the best ball playing centre back that England has to offer.
People will argue whether or not Stones is worth such a huge transfer fee, as of right now probably not but he could be at City for the best part of decade and City will have bought into that potential. Stones still looks rough around the edges but there are few better coaches who will be able to mold Stones into the complete defender at make the potential become the real deal.
For Everton it is a huge blow but they are looking to address that quickly by going to back to Swansea with an approved offer for their captain Ashley Williams. After initially having a £10m bid rebuffed by chairman Huw Jenkins, the Merseyside club have come back with a bid believed to be £12m
The 31 year old has spent 8 years in Wales and the fee will be a huge return on their initial investment after buying him from Stockport County back in 2008 for just £400,000. But although the sale of Williams will look good on the balance sheet it will be another key departure leaving the Liberty Stadium this Summer.
For the age that Williams is at this Summer is arguably his last chance of a big money move. After a string of incredible performances at Euro 2016 for Wales it’s no surprise that he was at the top of many clubs shopping lists. Williams will have weighed up what is going on around him in terms of Swansea’s plight and felt that now is the right time to say goodbye.
No will argue how much of a loyal servant he has been to Swansea and you do have to wonder if that departure will be the one that is the fatal blow in a season that has yet to get underway. Wingers and forwards can be replaced with relative ease but leaders cannot.
Ronald Koeman has been promised a large amount of transfer funds this Summer but hasn’t been able to spend them quite as quickly as he would have liked. With just three weeks left before the end of the transfer window Everton fans will be hoping that the arrival of Williams is the start of an Everton spending spree.