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John Stones – Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

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Everton‘s talented 21-year-old central defender John Stones is a name that has caught the eye for much of the summer, Jose Mourinho has been proactive in trying to tempt the young England international to Stamford Bridge but where is the best place for the former Barnsley trainee this season?

There has already been two bids rejected by the Goodison Park club, the most recent was at the end of last month for a reported £26 million. It has been suggested that Chelsea are expected to test the Merseyside club’s resolve with a third bid of £30 million with Roberto Martinez fighting to keep hold of his talented defender.

Stones who has been capped four times for the England senior squad is entering a massive season in his development. This will be his third season at Everton since his £3 million move from Barnsley in 2013, he has a few options but when the elite clubs in the Premier League come knocking it can be very difficult not to let your thoughts wonder, which is something that has been thrown at team-mate Ross Barkley following speculation last season.

Former England and Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has had his say and believes that the England hopeful should swap the Blue for the Red of the Old Trafford club, “If he goes to Man United, he plays every week so that’s the right club for him”. Ferdinand continued by saying  “If he goes to Chelsea, he’s not playing every week. He’s at that stage of his development where he wants to play every week. If you say to any young footballer to leave a club to sit on the bench, you’ve got to be a lunatic. You have to be.”

Ferdinand would be a good example of what is expected of a ball playing central defender having to live up to a big price tag, the former West Ham youth product left the Hammers for Leeds in 2000 for a staggering £18 million where he spent two years and was part of the impressive 2000-2001 squad that reached the Champions League semi finals. Following that Ferdinand made an even bigger move, swapping Leeds United for Manchester United for a whopping £29.1 million in the summer of 2002 which was a record fee paid by a British club for a defender.

At this stage of the Everton player’s career it is all about development and getting plenty of game time, if he was to swap Merseyside for London the worry would be as Ferdinand so eloquently put it “he’s not playing every week”. Stones is on to a very good thing with the Toffees and manager Roberto Martinez. He finds himself working under a coach that likes to play progressive football, has always encouraged the nurturing of new talent and has modeled himself on developing youth- a perfect example of this is his coaching days at Swansea City where he formulated the blueprint that Garry Monk still implements today.

There has been a lot of turmoil at Goodison Park with many fans dubious over the actions of owner Bill Kenwright, any sale of Stones would only add more weight to their claims that he is only interested in making money and does not have the club at heart.

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Louis Van Gaal is in need of a central defender himself and you would think a player of the talent of Stones would fit the bill but with the Dutchman still trying to work out which personnel he trusts within his back four, would the Everton centre half have as much chance playing at Old Trafford as he would at Stamford Bridge? In the opening day fixture at home to Tottenham, Van Gaal fielded Daley Blind at centre half as he tried to fit in new signing Morgan Schneiderlin alongside holding midfielder Michael Carrick.

Stones has become a fan favourite in his short time at Goodison, he has featured heavily making 45 appearances in all competitions since his arrival, Martinez clearly sees Stones as future captain material and is a forward thinking defender who has been encouraged to play out from the back.

Since the departure of experienced defender Sylvain Distin, Stones is expected to feature predominately alongside Everton captain Phil Jagielka which will stand the inexperienced Stones in good stead.

Stones’ progression is there for all to see, if you compare his stats from his first season in 2013-14 to last season it highlights just how well he has improved in every important aspect of a defender’s game. Stones’ playing style is more passive than robust but has shown signs of being a more than capable defender at the highest level, He made 150 clearances last season compared to John Terry’s 217 but the Chelsea captain played 15 more league games last term, the part of defending that Stones excels at is his anticipation and this is highlighted by his 35 interceptions from last season compared Terry’s 32.

The Everton man has shown how good he is at reading the game at such a young age and big things are rightly expected of him. The most important thing for a developing footballer at a tender age is experience and that is precisely why he should remain under the tutelage of Martinez for at least the next two seasons, this will benefit him immensely allow him to prove himself as a reliable central defender, which is something every Evertonian and England fan believes he can mature in to.

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Chelsea

Willian could hold key to Tottenham landing Anthony Martial

If Manchester United land the Brazilian it would undoubtedly improve Tottenham’s chances.

Jamie Watts

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Manchester United are reportedly preparing a £60 million bid to bring Chelsea winger Willian to Old Trafford this summer, according to reports from the Daily Mail, with manager Jose Mourinho having been linked with an approach for his former star for some time.

Chelsea were unwilling to sell at that time, but it is possible that Willian could be interested in a new challenge after apparently growing frustrated with life at Stamford Bridge, according to recent reports from Sky Sports. He managed a combined 25 goals and assists in 55 appearances in 2017/18, but only 20 of his 37 Premier League outings actually came as a starter.

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Tottenham meanwhile, have become frustrated at United’s assertion that Anthony Martial will not be sold this summer (Sky Sports), after Mauricio Pochettino made the Frenchman his priority target last month (the Sun), as he looks to bolster the supply line to Harry Kane next term.

However, Martial’s revelation that he wants to leave the club could be vital for Spurs, as Mourinho has previously stated that he would never stop a player from moving if they really want the move and the money is right. And he’s backed up his words, selling two-time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata to his current club in 2014.

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The Red Devils are currently stacked in terms of depth for the left wing, with Marcus Rashford struggling to start games over January signing Alexis Sanchez, but wide-right is somewhat scarce and Willian would undoubtedly improve United’s balance for the better.

Although the manager would prefer the Frenchman went abroad, if he asked for the move to north London, Willian’s transfer to United would undoubtedly improve Pochettino’s chances of securing his key man. United will also be buoyed by their recent business with the west Londoners, having surprisingly secured the signing of Nemanja Matic from Stamford Bridge last summer.

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Atletico Madrid

Rafa Benitez should plot Fernando Torres reunion at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez should plot a reunion with his former superstar.

Jamie Watts

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Newcastle United are reportedly in the market for new forwards this summer, with Rafa Benitez identifying the Magpies’ attacking output as a key weakness last term, despite their impressive 10th place finish.

The Spaniard is calling for the club to back him in pursuit of a “10 to 15 goals a season” striker this summer, with the likes of Salomon Rondon (Northern Echo) and Bas Dost (the Sun) circulating around the Newcastle rumour mill.

However, both would likely break the Magpies current club-record of £16 million – for Michael Owen from Real Madrid in 2005 – and perhaps Benitez would be better served going for a former favourite.

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Fernando Torres is a free-agent having left Atletico Madrid, following last month’s Europa League triumph and Newcastle should offer the 34-year-old a route back to England’s top flight this summer.

Under Benitez’s tutelage at Liverpool, Torres was widely recognised as one of the most formidable forwards in world football, and though his impact has diminished over the years, there’s no doubting the World Cup winner’s quality in front of goal.

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The prospect of an elite level striker arriving at St James’ Park on a free transfer is a no brainier if the player can be convinced and the club should make it happen.  He knows the league inside-out, having made 212 appearances for Chelsea – where he won the Champions League – and with Benitez at Anfield, and he could instantly propel Newcastle’s attack to higher levels.

Becoming a crucial part of a new project on Tyneside would be enticing for Torres, as his unwavering desire and tenacity on a football pitch is something that cannot be questioned. And he doesn’t seem the type to move to the States or China in pursuit of one last pay-cheque.

He has all the attributes to become a cult-hero at Newcastle, and the club should act now.

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Arsenal

Arsenal fans call for Aleksandr Golovin signing after dazzling World Cup display

Arsenal fans are calling for an impulse signing after the World Cup opener yesterday.

Jamie Watts

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Arsenal already possess any array of creative forwards, but Gooners are extremely keen on CSKA Moscow maestro Aleksandr Golovin, after seeing the midfielder dazzle in Russia’s World Cup debut againt Saudi Arabia yesterday evening.

The 22-year-old already had links to north London spanning back to January (the Sun), with Arsene Wenger revealing his admiration for the player’s talent ahead of the Europa League quarter-final clash against the Russian heavyweights in March.

And Golovin highlighted his obvious ability last night, as Russia routed Saudi Arabia 5-1 in Moscow, creating two goals for teammates, before rounding an impressive display off with a sumptuous free-kick in added time.

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His vision and technical ability led the hosts to a comfortable victory, with a superbly placed cross finding Denis Cheryshev in the box to open the scoring in the 12th minute. Before he again showed his class to pick-out Artem Dzyuba with a floated cross, which the striker converted comfortably 20 minutes from time.

And Arsenal fans have taken to Twitter to demand that Unai Emery should re-ignite interest in the player this summer.

Here’s the reaction:

Arsenal’s recent focus has been on landing Sampdoria’s industrious midfielder Lucas Torreira, as the manager looks to add balance to the team, according to the Guardian. 

But it seems fans want Emery to keep a close eye on the World Cup this summer, as it has become something of a shop window in recent years. And Golovin could earn himself a high-profile move if he continues performing at such a high level.

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