So yesterday a question was asked to many (and others). That question I then put in the public realm on Twitter, just to see what people’s responses were. The question was a simple one.
Three names seemed to get more mentions than any other. John Stones, Riyad Mahrez & Romelu Lukaku.
The last two, I would have no problem with the club targeting. However, John Stones, I just do not get it.
He is the current darling of the English sporting media. He can do no wrong. The next superstar youngster. Built up as a world class player. Despite having not really done much.
And that is my issue with John Stones, what has he actually done to justify people talking about a £40+million transfer fee?
21 years old, he has played 63 Premier League games, 3 times in Europe (the Europa League) and 7 times for England.
A lot of people compare him and his potential transfer to that of Rio Ferdinand when he joined Manchester United for £29.1 million. But there is a big difference.
In 2002, when Manchester United signed Ferdinand, he was 23 years old, had played over 180 times in the Premier League, over 20 England caps, and had played in a Champions League semi final. The player Manchester United signed was the real deal. A proven performer. Not yet the finished article, but close to it.
What you are getting in John Stones is the potential. He is nowhere near the player Ferdinand was 13 years ago, and whilst he has the potential to get their, it is a lot of money to pay on potential. He is completely unproven.
My other issue with him is when you ask people why they rate him, they reply “he is really good on the ball.” I might be old fashioned, but I want the best quality of my defender to be that he is a good defender. Being good on the ball means nothing if they can not defend. Give me a John Terry over a David Luiz any day of the week.
It is a frustration of mine. People ranting defenders for reasons other than defending. Joleen Lescott was rated highly because he scored a few goals. Leighton Baines because he has a great cross, takes a good corner and a good free kick.
Yes, these players might be good for your Fantasy Football team, but in the real world, they are average, as they are not great defenders. Give me Nacho Monreal above Leighton Baines. Or a few years back, Bacary Sagna over Dani Alves. A defenders job is to defend, not to be good on the ball, score goals, etc.
If they are good on the ball, or can contribute goals, then that is a bonus. It is a secondary attribute. Defending is the primary attribute.
And for me, at this moment in time, Stones is rated for his ability on the ball, not his defending.
You only have to look at Everton’s position in the table to understand their problems. Currently sitting 11th. A very low position for a side with so many ‘talented’ players (this raises another question as to whether Roberto Martinez is the most overrated manager in the league). There problem is clear, they concede too many goals. Which is confusing, as they have the (alleged) greatest young centre back in the game in John Stones. With the best right back in the league in Seamus Coleman and best left back in Leighton Baines.
Maybe all 3 are just vastly overrated?
When you look at John Stones’ price tag of £40+million it highlights the premium you pay for English players. For less than that, you could go and get the likes of Matts Hummels. An experienced, proven, better defender.
And anyway, Mertesacker & Koscielny are both better player’s.
So for John Stones, it is a no thanks from me.