Last night reports broke that Manchester City would be pursuing a £40million move for Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake. The Dutchman is one of the players rumoured to leave the Vitality Stadium considering the team’s impending relegation. This leaves the door open for John Stones to exit the Etihad with Pep Guardiola already making it known that the Englishman’s future no longer lies in Manchester. Arsenal could possibly be next destination.
Even before yesterday’s revelations, it was rumoured that Mikel Arteta was already keen on bringing the 26-year-old to the Emirates. Having worked with him at City, no one knows the defender better than Arteta and the Spaniard clearly sees something special in the out of favour centre-back. It’s not clear as to what fee City would demand for his services but it may be a bit favourable due to who Arsenal’s manager is now.
Here’s what John Stones brings to Arsenal
On the Ball Ability
As we saw against Manchester City on Saturday, Mikel Arteta is adamant that his team play out from the back. He wants to use this tactic to draw opponents out of shape as they press the defenders, only for the ball to be passed around them due to the holes they leave behind. However, he also understands that he may not have the players suited to that style of play. That’s where John Stones comes in.
No defender in England is more notorious for his on the ball ability than the 26-year-old. This season, the centre-back has averaged 64.8 passes a game whilst maintaining a 94.2% pass accuracy. For comparison, David Luiz – who is Arsenal’s focal point of playing out from the back – has averaged an 84.9% pass accuracy.
The reason why Manchester City are a step ahead of the rest is due to Pep’s focus on technical ability, from goalkeeper to striker. Every player must be comfortable in tight spaces & confident on the ball and they are signed with that intention in mind. The sheer fact Guardiola signed Stones and now Arteta wants him should be an encouraging sign to all Arsenal fans.
As of today, Arsenal will have seven centre-backs in their first team for next season. However, when you go through the list, most of them are not of the desired quality. That’s why there are rumours that a major rebuild will be taking place over the summer with the likes of; Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers & Rob Holding all possibly departing through either permanent or loan deals.
That leaves just William Saliba – who is 18 and will need time to settle, David Luiz & Pablo Mari. The addition of John Stones not only adds squad depth, but he has the quality and pedigree to walk straight into the starting XI due to the poor standard of defenders present.
Although he’s fallen in the pecking order at City, we shouldn’t be quick to forget that the 26-year-old has been a key figure in the Sky Blues’ past success and that he’s represented his country on 39 occasions.