According to reports this morning Chelsea will once again revive their interest in England International John Stones.
With their season all but over they are now looking at potential summer buys with Stones leading the list, although the current defender has come under criticism for his dip in form Chelsea still have good faith he is the man to replace John Terry who is set to leave Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte will take over as Chelsea manager after Euro 2016. It is reported as part of the summer overhaul which is very much needed after a somewhat shambolic season they will firstly attempt a move for Stones. The 21-year-old was reportedly close to joining the Blues form Barnsley in January 2013 but the player himself opted to move to Everton for £3 million. Chelsea tried and failed with three bids last summer for the defender with the highest bid believed to be £37 million, Stones’ current club even rejected a transfer request from the player as he tried to force a move away from the club.
There is no hiding the fact that Stones has struggled this season, it may be due to the fact he had his heart on a move to Chelsea and his mind is elsewhere. Although he has disappointed this season, Chelsea still retain full hope in the player and trust his ability and will be hopeful of tying him down this summer.
After impressive performances in recent seasons he has also got himself 8 caps for England.
Unlike last year, Chelsea will really have to battle for his signature with Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City also interested in the player and motioning the situation, all three clubs understand it will be hard to persuade Everton to sell this summer after they were very stubborn last season. The player himself will no doubt want to move and play for a bigger team whether than be in England or elsewhere, Everton have underachieved once again this season and don’t look like they’ll get Champions League football anytime soon.
Incoming Manchester City boss (Pep) is reported to be very keen on Stones and would like to sign him for City this summer, but with the strong interest from Chelsea they seem to be leading the chase.
Being a defender in one of the toughest leagues in the world and be able to win tackles successfully is a major factor of being a world class defender. Stones has won a very good 1.26 tackles which is better than his opponents. Smalling is second with 1.19, Kompany third with 1.06 and Terry last 0.80. One worrying thing for the clubs interested in Stones is his defensive errors; he comes top with 0.15 which is not very pleasing. Terry is second with 0.05 and both Smalling and Kompany have a score of 0 when it comes to defensive errors which are very impressive. Interceptions in defence can be as big as an assist in attack. Smalling has completely annihilated his rivals with this start and has a very good score of 2.77. Terry is second with 1.74 and Stones closely behind on 1.71, Kompany is last with 1.63. Known to be the toughest leagues in the world players have to be good in the air and be brave enough to challenge, Kompany who stands way over 6’ feet has won 85.37% of aerial duels which is completely superior than his rivals, Terry is second on 68.18% and Stones third after scoring 64.79%. Surprisingly Smalling is last with aerial duels won after scoring just 60.40% which is still over half. Like interceptions, blocks are so important for a defender, whether it be stopping a shot on the line or blocking a pass through on goal. Stones impressively comes first on total blocks after scoring 1.15 per 90 minutes; Terry is second on 0.80, Smalling third 0.58 and Kompany last on 0.28. In total, Smalling comes out on top for his defence score scoring a winning score of 16.60 with Kompany closely behind on 13.91. Stones is third on 8.62 and surprisingly ex-England international Terry is last on 5.92.
In summary, there is no doubt at just 21 years old Stones will only get better. He hasn’t had his best season and it may be because his heart is elsewhere but there is no doubt about the potential he would bring. All clubs interested in Stones will have to pay a very high fee in order to receive his services and whatever team is lucky enough to sign him will be very happy. He is such a raw talent with so much more to learn and with the right direction he could become one of the best defenders in Europe.