Transfer Rumour: Real Madrid set sights on Manchester City defender John Stones

Reigning European Champions Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing a summer move for out-of-favour Manchester City centre-back John Stones.

According to a report in the Manchester Evening News, Los Blancos have set their sights on a number of Pep Guardiola’s men. Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are all being considered, but perhaps the most surprising name on the list is that of John Stones.

The Englishman has made only 27 appearances in a season marred by bad form and injury. After a bright start to the season, injuries to hamstring and abductor muscles have kept him out for large parts of the campaign and his form has considerably dropped since the turn of the year.

Aymeric Laporte’s arrival in January and Vincent Kompany’s return from injury has made it even more difficult for him to try and force his way back into the starting lineup. However, his displays in the first half of the season were reportedly enough to convince Real Madrid of his quality and potential.

But, there are contradicting reports surrounding John Stones’s future at the Etihad and City’s willingness to offload the player in the summer. The Sun states that the former Everton man will be allowed to leave in the summer, while MEN and ESPN report that the newly crowned Premier League champions aren’t going to let Stones leave in the upcoming transfer window.

Manchester City's English defender John Stones looks on during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Watford at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
John Stones looks on during the English Premier League football match against Watford at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 2, 2018.  (Picture Courtesy – Getty Images)

However, Manchester City may be forced to reconsider if Real Madrid table a big enough offer for the England international. At only 23, he still has the best years of his career ahead of him and he could be the eventual successor to Sergio Ramos’s place at the Bernabeu.

Tall, strong, quick for his size, Stones is also very good with the ball at his feet. He is dominant in the air, technically adept and has been blessed with good vision. He cuts a calm and composed figure at the back and has all the attributes needed to become a world class defender.

He would have lesser competition for places in the starting XI at the Bernabeu than at Manchester City. Jesus Vallejo hasn’t really impressed in his first full season at the club. Ramos doesn’t have too many years left in the top flight and that leaves Zinedine Zidane with Nacho Fernandez and Raphael Varane.

Stones’s current City contract runs until the end of the 2022 season, so it would take a massive amount of money to convince the Citizens to part with the young centre-back, who cost them a massive £47.5 million plus a potential £2.5 million in add-ons, back in 2016.

The Citizens will undoubtedly want to make a healthy profit on the England international if they decide to part with him and whether Real Madrid are going to offer them more than £50 million at this point is doubtful. However, a good World Cup campaign may convince them to take the plunge and it will be interesting to see whether Real Madrid act upon their interest.

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