Date: 27th August 2015 at 3:27pm
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Stones should stay at Everton

This story has dragged right throughout the window. Despite handing in a transfer request, Everton are still insistent their star won’t leave. For the good of football I hope this is true. Far too many times have I seen young players, who are flourishing at their clubs, throw that away to chase their ‘dreams’.

Not for a minute am I suggesting that John Stones doesn’t have the ability to play for Chelsea, I just think it’s a year too soon. Unlike most of the world, who have only really started talking about him since Jose Mourinho publicly declared his interest a few months back, I’ve thought he would be the backbone of the England team for the next decade.

2nd August 2015 - Pre-Season Friendly - Everton v Villarreal - John Stones of Everton - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

However, we need to look at the facts. With John Terry (despite recent issues) still involved, plus Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma at the club, I can’t see Stones being one of the first names on the team sheet, like he is on Merseyside, this season.

Unlike those three, or at least Cahill and Terry, he has yet to prove himself at an elite level with just four senior England caps to date, which isn’t really that impressive considering our shortage in that position and no Champions League football under his belt. Additionally, if you ask most Evertonians, they’d say he didn’t have a great last term in the Premier League, a division he is still growing to having played just 47 games in.

Of course he has to move to play at that level on a regular basis but with the competition in front of him and his standing at the moment he should stay and keep developing the way he is at Everton. It’s not as if he’s plying his trade in a lower league or for a club struggling on and off the pitch. He’s playing in the Premier League and for one of the biggest clubs in the country.

You hear ex-pros all the time say “the most important thing at a young age is first-team minutes”. I can guarantee that if Stones moves to Stamford Bridge he’ll have a lot less minutes come the end of the season than if he were to stay at Goodison.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright should also take a the view that he could allow Stones to move on next summer for a similar fee as the 21-year-old’s current deal runs to 2019 and his value will not drop.

Yes his asset won’t initially be happy at not being allowed to move on but he’s a professional and will perform to his maximum for Everton, not just because that’s his job, but to keep his suitors satisfied that they know what they’re investing in.

A deal at a later stage would also allow Roberto Martinez to plan replacements rather than rushing around and picking up the likes of Federico Fazio or Jonny Evans – players I’m sure if he really wanted he could’ve brought in earlier in the window.

Bill, please keep your nerve; John, worry about games not trophies; Jose, come back in a year when you have a Stones that you’ll start in every match.

Transfer deadline needs to move

Following on from the my view on Stones, I feel more than ever that it’s time to move the transfer window deadline to before the season kicks off.

It’s ridiculous that the football has already started but that most of the talk is about who will be moving clubs. All the focus should be on the matches, while managers and players should be able to concentrate on getting off to the best possible start.

Stories like Stones and De Gea are unsettling not just for the individual involved, but for everyone connected with the club. This can lead to below-par performances on the pitch which, even at this stage, could cost points that could prove the difference between success and failure at the end of the season.

With the finance involved now, football is high stakes and the future of clubs, plus the impact that has on their paying fans – prices changing and people losing jobs if relegation occurs – should not be impacted by what is 85% of the time complete and utter nonsense.

Everyone seems for it. The problem will definitely be trying to make FIFA use common sense.

 
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