Chelsea’s pursuit of John Stones was one of the stories of the summer transfer window. The Blues had three bids rejected for the Everton defender, the highest of which believed to be around £38 million. He is often cited as one of the best young defenders in the world, but his recent form may suggest otherwise.
Recently, reports have seen Stones linked with not only another possible approach from Chelsea, but bids from Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. The fee being thrown around is £50 million, an amount that would make him the most expensive defender of all time.
Based on his recent performances, Stones isn’t among the best defenders in the world; he certainly isn’t worth £50 million. Given that Everton have conceded 34 goals in the Premier League, Stones has been a part of one of the Premier League’s most leaky defence, which has been responsible for losing Everton a lot of points, especially considering they have scored 40 goals.
At the weekend against Swansea, Stones was responsible for the first goal his side conceded, with his lazy back pass allowing Andre Ayew to nip in before being taken out by Tim Howard. This isn’t the first incident of Stones putting himself into trouble at the back.
Since coming to Everton, Roberto Martinez has tried to introduce a keep-ball style of football at the club, but it hasn’t always paid off. It often seems that Martinez doesn’t understand how passing football should be played, and encourages his defenders to play the ball out from the back, even if they are under pressure. There is a time to play good football, but there is also a time when you just need to stick the ball into the stands.
Despite the risks he has taken on the ball, Stones has normally remained strong defensively. However even this has changed recently. For Swansea’s second goal on Sunday, Stones didn’t get tight enough to Ayew, and the shot eventually deflected in off his leg. In the Capital One Cup semi final second leg against Manchester City, he was the wrong side of Sergio Aguero when the Argentine headed home from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross.
Even though Barcelona are keen on their centre backs playing good football, and starting attacks from the back, they would come up against some of the top strikers in the world, especially in the Champions League. Though he has shown the potential to become an excellent defender in the future, he isn’t ready for the top teams yet, and especially not for Barcelona.