The January transfer window is often full of speculations. Some of them are completely unexpected and that’s exactly the case with the reports that Arsenal is interested in signing John Stones.
We all knew that the Gunners need a centre-back but this particular player was never mentioned before. Could this transfer actually work? Let’s take a look at all sides involved and what they could gain or lose by a potential deal.
John Stones currently plays for Manchester City and some suggest that the club might be unwilling to sell. The main reason for the reigning champions to oppose such a move is the lack of enough players at this position.
One could argue that the shortage in the heart of the defense is why City is out of the title race. Pep Guardiola decided to let Vincent Company go before the season started and then Aymerick Laporte got injured at the start of the campaign.
The team struggled ever since and the defense hasn’t been the same. And yet, John Stones has started only 10 games in the English Premier League. He has been mostly inconsistent in his performances and his health has been shaky.
With Laporte getting back soon and Manchester City reportedly looking to sign more centre-backs, Stones might not be needed soon.
It’s obvious that Arsenal needs a new player in this position. Shkodran Mustafi has been below par for years and Calum Chambers is injured. The Gunners lack both quality and quantity in this area of the pitch, so finding a solid centre-back is the top priority.
Mikel Arteta knows Stones very well from his time as Pep’s assistant and obviously rates him. The question is if Arsenal has the money to buy in January. Manchester City will be keen on a large transfer fee for the player and that could be an issue.
Finally, let’s take a look at the player himself. John Stones certainly is not happy with his playing time at the Etihad, especially if you consider that the European Championship will take in the summer.
He will be eager to earn a place in the English squad and he needs to be on the pitch more by the end of the season. Arsenal certainly provides that and Mikel Arteta obviously likes Stones, so the long-term future of the athlete looks good too.
On the negative side, this will be a step back in multiple areas. Arsenal is not likely to challenge for trophies as much as Manchester City in the upcoming years, the Gunners will probably miss Champions League football next season and they can’t pay Stones the same money he is currently getting from City.
This potential deal is hard to evaluate. It makes sense on multiple levels but there are serious question marks like the potential transfer fee and Stones’ desire to take a step back to rebuild his career. It doesn’t look likely that a move will go through in January but the summer might be another story.