ESPN FC pundit Craig Burley believes Arsenal making an approach for Manchester City defender John Stones is a realistic prospect.
The City centre-back has been linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium in recent days and despite Metro.co.uk reporting that the champions have no intention to sell him, Burley thinks a move could happen. Speaking on ESPN FC, the former Chelsea midfielder suggested that the links with Mikel Arteta, as well as City’s own need for defensive reinforcements, only increase the likelihood that Stones could be heading to north London in the future.
He said: “I can see this. I can see it because the connection is Arteta, but also the fact it’s been such a problematic period in the last 24 months for him injury-wise, [and being] in and out of the team at Man City. A player can always move clubs and get a change of scenery and a change of luck. A lot of people don’t like John Stones. I like him, I think he’s a fantastic footballer, but I think he needs to have a really sustained, long period of playing.
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“I think City are becoming a little bit fed up. But I don’t see him as a partnership at Arsenal with David Luiz, so it would be one or the other. I could see that happening, and I don’t think it’s a bad fit.”
As Burley notes, there are plenty of reasons, in theory, why Stones could yet become an Arsenal player in the near future. Manchester City’s problems at the back this season have been well-documented, and the fact that they have resorted to playing Fernandinho (often in Stones’ place) at centre-back suggests it is still a prime area for strengthening this month and in the summer.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have faced plenty of injury problems of their own in defence, with Calum Chambers’ long-term injury potentially forcing Arteta’s hand in the transfer market if he is to bolster the backline – and there can be few players he knows better than former City colleague Stones. Therefore, it may not be so surprising if Burley’s prediction becomes reality.
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