Manchester City have announced the signing of in-demand Everton defender John Stones this morning after the official UEFA website had earlier shown that the club had named the 22-year-old in their Champions League squad. Stones has signed a six-year-deal with City and will take the number 24 shirt at the Etihad Stadium, becoming Pep Guardiola’s eight signing following his arrival at the club earlier this summer.
City were originally linked with a move for Stones following Guardiola’s appointment earlier in the summer, but were thought to be reluctant to meet Everton’s £50 million valuation of the player. Ultimately both clubs have compromised with the eventual fee reported as £47.5 million, making him the second most expensive defender in Premier League history. Stones’s inclusion in City’s European squad means that he will now be eligible to feature in their play-off match with Steaua Bucharest next week.
The news is a colossal blow for Everton just days ahead of their season opener against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. Yes, the money is good, however, Ronald Koeman has been thwarted in his attempts to improve his squad so far this summer so bringing in a suitable replacement at this stage may be easier said than done.
Meanwhile, after being snubbed by Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic last month, the Toffees have now had an £18 million bid rejected by Crystal Palace for their forward Yannick Bolasie, according to reports in the Guardian.
Everton are clearly in the market for a left winger this summer, with Koeman now identifying Bolasie as his primary target for the role, but reports suggest that Palace value the DR Congo international at around £30 million. That price tag may be enough to deter Everton, who may have been alerted to the possibility of signing the player following the arrival of Andros Townsend at Selhurst Park. Bolasie has impressed in the Premier League since the Eagles were promoted in 2013, with his pace and willingness to run at opposition full-backs wreaking havoc to many a defence.
A potential switch to Goodison Park would be an interesting one as one of the criticisms levelled at Bolasie has been that he can go missing in some matches. Whilst a club such as Palace can afford him to have the odd off day, the pressure would be much greater at a club the size of Everton. Nevertheless, if Koeman is willing to meet the current valuation of the player then he will be getting one of the Premier League’s most exciting players.
Finally, another man that is close to leaving Goodison is Brendan Galloway, with the Evening Chronicle reporting that Newcastle United are poised to sign the 20-year-old on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal next summer.
Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is keen to add to his squad following their opening day defeat to Fulham on Friday night, and has targeted Galloway as the man to strengthen the club’s defence. The young left-back made 19 appearances for Everton last season but with Leighton Baines and Bryan Oviedo back from injury, he has fallen to third in the pecking order and a temporary switch to the North East could do him the world of good.
It would be disappointing for the Toffees to lose Galloway for more than a season as at times last season he showed that he could potentially be a long-term replacement for the ageing Leighton Baines. Everton’s loss could be Newcastle’s gain on this one though.
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