Former Newcastle and Blackburn striker Alan Shearer has said that Everton defender John Stones should move to Chelsea for the good of his career, according to the BBC.
The defending Premier League champions have been chasing the 21 year old somewhat publicly since the transfer window opened, with two offers having already been submitted to Everton for their consideration. The Merseysiders haven’t budged, though, and Roberto Martinez, the Everton manager, is insistent that his defender is not for sale.
Martinez even went so far as to accuse Chelsea and their players of “illegally” tapping up Stones with the manner of their courtship. It has led plenty of pundits to weigh in on the situation, with Shearer saying on Match Of The Day, “He would be playing under the best manager in the Premier League, and he’d be watching and learning from the best centre-half there has been in the Premier League in John Terry”.
Everton aren’t in a hurry to sell Stones, not least of all because they’d then have to go back into the transfer market in order to pick up a replacement. Stones made 23 Premier League appearances for the Toffees last season and still has 4 years left on his contract.
Shearer’s fellow pundit, Danny Murphy, doesn’t think Stones has had his head turned judging by his performance against Watford at Goodison Park over the weekend. He said, “Overall he was calm, elegant, like he always is, and there was nothing in his performance which said he didn’t want to be there. I’m a big fan of his. He’s a clever footballer. He doesn’t just boot it out of play. He’s a thinker and a good athlete. He can play in that Chelsea team. He wouldn’t go to make up the numbers. For me, he would get in ahead of Gary Cahill”.
Liverpool’s former vice-captain and central defensive stalwart Jamie Carragher disagreed with his England team-mate Shearer, however, suggesting that Stones would be better off remaining at Goodison. Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football Carragher hit back at those who suggested Stones would be better off at Stamford Bridge. He said, “For John Stones, some of the nonsense that has been spoken this weekend and before about where is best for him. Where he is best is where he is now. I can speak as a centre back. It is very difficult as a young centre back to play for a team that is right at the pinnacle of the league”.
Carragher was joined in the Monday Night Football studio by Everton manager Roberto Martinez and said to the Spaniard, “The next two or three years, the best place for him is alongside you at Goodison Park, getting up to 50 games a season, getting experience under his belt. And no disrespect to Everton, but maybe in 2-3 years he will be physically ready to move on. He’s not ready now. The best place for him now is to keep playing [at Everton], as he did [this] weekend”.
What confuses the issue slightly for Everton is the fact that they still owe Chelsea the majority of the money they agreed with the London club for the sale of Romelu Lukaku, meaning they could essentially wipe off their debt by selling a player they picked up for just £3 million from Barnsley.
Wherever the best place for Stones is, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confessed that he wants to buy the defender saying, “We made a bid because we like the player”. Thanks to Roman Abramovich’s billions Chelsea are able to bring in whoever they want more often than not, so it would be no surprise to see him swap the Blue of Merseyside for the Blue of London before too long.