Why Letting John Stones Leave Would Be Disastrous For Manchester City
According to the Sun, Premier League champions Manchester City are ready to sell defender John Stones at the end of the season.
Stones has fallen down the pecking order behind Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and January arrival Aymeric Laporte. That has seen the English international not start a Premier League game since January, although City claim that the defender has been hit with an adductor muscle injury.
With the 23-year-old struggling for regular game time, will it be wise for Guardiola to offload Stones in the summer?
In 2016, Manchester City signed Stones from Everton for £47.5m after the defender constantly impressed with his performances at Goodison Park. He arrived with a lot of fanfare and was deemed as one of the most influential players in the new-age City team under Guardiola.
In Guardiola’s first season in charge of City, Stones formed a strong partnership with Otamendi as club captain Kompany spent most of the time on the sidelines. While the duo fought with a lot of odds last season, it is clear that Otamendi has improved massively this season, reaching a new level in his game, with and without the ball.
City fans were highly optimistic about Stones after the defender’s consistent and solid displays at the back for Everton. Above all, the hamstring injury Stones sustained last November didn’t help his cause as the 23-year-old was sidelined for six weeks.
The period of the injury was very unlucky as Stones was finally finding his feet at City. The injury’s aftermath has seen the defender lack confidence and commit errors on a number of occasions. He has been rusty since returning from injury in January, while his errors against Burnley, Bristol City and Liverpool simply highlight he is way short of his best.
In fact, his performances in 2018 have been nothing short of disastrous. Had those moments arrived at the start of the season, Stones would have stepped out of the defence and snatched away possession or cleared the ball for safety. But now, the former Everton ace looks like a man devoid of confidence and has shown indecisiveness in playing the ball out from the back in order to avoid making more errors.
This is the perfect time where Guardiola’s man-management skills come into the picture. The Catalan simply knows in and out about Stones’ style of play and instead of offloading him, he must show confidence in the player’s abilities and keep things simple.
However, the matter of fact is that Stones needs games to find his lost confidence and mojo back. He just cannot sit back and see Laporte take his position.
With City having already wrapped up the title, it would be interesting to see what happens in the last few games. There are no major concerns about Stones but it is clear that the England international must improve his overall game to be a Cityzen for the next few seasons or so.
If City let Stones leave the club in the summer, it would definitely be a bad move.