The reported $65 million paid for newly-acquired Manchester City centerback John Stones seems a bit lofty, however, new manager Pep Guardiola has had his sights set on the Englishman since before he took the reigns of the Premier League side this summer.
With the Premier League season a mere four days from kickoff, the addition of Stones became more about desperation than anything else. While there’s no question the young defender had largely lived up to the hype in his three season at Everton, the 22-year-old must now embark upon a significantly greater, and more high-profile, chapter in his football career.
Not only is Stones the future of Manchester City’s backline but he’s also expected to lead the England defensive line as he gains more experience on the international level. For the interim, though, he can focus on the Citizens.
Guardiola and co. only boasted three true central options for the club’s defense prior to adding Stones on Tuesday, which did prove to be one of the biggest signings of the summer simply due to the fact that City needed to create reassurance at the back. While captain Vincent Kompany needs no proving of his capabilities when on the pitch, the veteran Belgian centerback has struggled to remain healthy over recent years, particularly last season. During the 2015/16 campaign, Kompany appeared in just 14 Premier League matches, which greatly affected the team’s defensive chemistry.
Nicolas Otamendi has proven to be a solid option when called upon, and with the addition of Stones the Argentine will be a suitable backup, but Eliaquim Mangala has struggled to say the least in his time with the Citizens.
Stones is the young gun in the group, and while his expectations are great, he cannot afford to suffer from any jitters that come with a move to a club as big as Manchester City. The Citizens did well to add several attacking options this summer with players like Nolito, Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane, however, Stones’ last-minute addition will likely make or break the season for the team at the Etihad Stadium.
If Stones and Kompany can build a successful partnership in the center of Guardiola’s new defense, then the Citizens could really have something in 2016/17, but if not, a finish somewhere around fourth (where they placed last season) is most likely to be the outcome.Follow @MattReedFutbol