John Stones, Manchester City’s defender has been linked with a shock move to Arsenal amid the reports Mikel Arteta is looking to strengthen the Gunners’ defensive line in the January transfer window.
The rumours of John Arteta’s possible arrival at Arsenal surfaced last week. The Arsenal new head coach Mikel Arteta is reportedly looking to add a few new faces to Arsenal’s defensive line in a bid to strengthen his team defence, which has been struggling to perform up to par so far in 2019/20 season of EPL. The Gunners’ search for a new defence has prompted talk of a surprise move of John Stones to north London.
John Stones is a 25-year old English centre-back, who has started his career at Barnsley FC youth club in 2001 at only seven-years of age. In 2012, Stones got promoted to Barnsley U18 where he continued to hone his skill and a year later moved up the ranks to play for Barnsley FC’s main squad. Stones’ stay at Barnsley FC, however, was short-lived- as he got sold to Everton in January 2013.
Stones continued his career at Toffees, where he stayed for three seasons and racked up 95 appearances. During his time at Everton, Stones gained a name as one of the best defenders in the league, which prompted Man City to sign him in August 2016 for €55.6 million.
Since his arrival at Man City, Stones played a pivotal role in the Sky Blues success. While Stones was one of the crucial members for Man City in 2016/17 season, he slowly fell out of the favour at Emirates, getting less and less playtime as seasons progressed. In 2018/19 season, Stones played 39 games for Man City across all competitions, 24 of which he played in the EPL. This season, however, Stones has only 11 appearances in the EPL and 15 across all competitions.
It has become rather clear Stones is struggling to get a regular spot in Guardiola’s side, even though Aymeric Laporte has been out injured, which helped spark the rumours Stones could be leaving Emirates Stadium in a bid to find a club which would offer him more time on the pitch. With Arteta leaving Ethiad as Guardiola’s number two, to become the head coach of Arsenal, links between Stones and his former boss have started to surface, especially with Chambers out injured for Arsenal, who are in dire straits with their options in defence.
That said, the rumours could prove to be exactly that – only rumours. After Arsenal’s win over Leeds United in the FA Cup, a reporter asked Arteta about a possible Stones signing, to which the Arsenal boss said:
“We don’t talk about any transfers and we are working on a few things. When the club has something to say I will let you know.”
It seems like Arteta is either waiting to make a surprise announcement or is not keen on signing Stones. Either way, we are currently left in the dark with this transfer, as there are no official statements that would guarantee Stones’ departure from City. Nonetheless, we can be sure Stones is looking for his options, considering Laporte is returning to fitness, meaning Stones could see his opportunities limited at Ethiad, especially with the improved performances from Fernandinho.
When asked about the move, the Man City boss Guardiola had the following to say:
“He was in London to see his agent last week and is due back again this week. He knows if he is to resurrect his England career he has to get more time on the pitch.”
“Arteta is in need of defenders so it could be perfect for both of them.”
Whether Stones will make a move to Arsenal is at this point something we cannot know for sure. That said, there is a reason to believe Man City won’t be too keen on making a deal with Arsenal, considering the controversial move which saw Arteta leave to become the head coach of the Gunners. Will the two teams bury the hatchet and make a deal which will benefit both Arsenal and Stones, however, remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Stones could be leaving Man City as early as this transfer window.
John Stones is just one name on the Arteta’s list. Also, there are some rumours that Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot can join Arsenal. We will see what will happen until the end of the January transfer window.