ARSENAL LINKED WITH MOVE FOR 25-YEAR-OLD ENGLAND STAR… AGAIN

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Kieran Harm
Football and NFL Writer. Specialising in the Premier League and Bundesliga

For the second time in a matter of months, Arsenal have been linked with a move for Manchester City defender John Stones. The link, which was featured in the 90Min publication, says that the Gunners are looking to offer Stones a “route out of Manchester” this summer.

John Stones’ tough time of it…

John Stones has had a bit of a tough time of it as of late. Since the beginning of the 2017/18 season, Stones has made just 54 Premier League Appearances. While injuries have indeed been a factor, the overarching reason for his lack of game time, particularly this season, has been poor form.

Will Arsenal save John Stones from his frustrating career at City?
Will Arsenal save John Stones from his frustrating career at City?

Stones was in the Manchester City starting XI for the Carabao Cup final last weekend as Pep Guardiola’s men beat Aston Villa 2-1 to secure a third consecutive League Cup trophy.

Despite City having to do very little in the way of defending, they did manage to concede a goal courtesy of an error from Stones.

Stones cost Manchester City a whopping £50m from Everton back in 2016 and is still the fourth most expensive signing of Guardiola’s tenure at the Etihad Stadium.

His performances have been less than impressive over the last few years and the sheer volume of errors he’s made on a game-by-game basis has been incredibly alarming.

Now, it seems that Guardiola is about ready to call time on his persistence with Stones and is set to sanction a move away from Manchester this summer.

Is he the right man for Arsenal?

For me, the answer to that is a clear no. The Gunners have a pretty lengthy list of ‘dodgy defenders’ in modern history. They need to start looking to move away from that, not steer further into the skid.

Even now, Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz, while both in half-decent form at the moment, present the exact problem arsenal need to be moving away from.

Both players have a long history of making mistakes. From dodgy tackles in poor areas to just sheer shoddy defending, we’ve seen it all over the years from these two – most recently at Stamford Bridge as Mustafi gave the ball away in a shocking area and Luiz gave away a penalty trying to win it back.

It feels like Stones would be nothing more than a continuation of this type of a player. If arsenal are to spend big money on a center half and make no mistake that Stones will cost a pretty penny, they need to be sure he can be a calming influence on a pretty ragged backline.

Arsenal have needed quality at the back for years © Getty Images
Arsenal have needed quality at the back for years © Getty Images

It feels like the major driving force behind this rumour is the obvious Mikel Arteta link. The Arsenal manager is fresh from a lengthy stint at Manchester City as Pep’s assistant. As a result, there aren’t many managers who know how the mind of John Stones works better than Arteta.

If the deal does happen, you would hope that the connection between those two would help Arsenal to get the most from the England star.

Stones’ career has stalled a little in recent years and I think, as England fans, the majority of us would like to see him revive it. Having said that, I’m not overly sure a move to Arsenal is the way to do that.

Arsenal have a particularly expectant fan base and, if you’re not performing up to standard, the Emirates can be a dark place to be for an arsenal player.

If Stones is to leave City this summer, I’d personally like to see him at a slightly smaller club wherein he can rediscover his form without the immense pressure that would come from playing for one of the so-called big six.

A move to someone like Wolves, where he’d be playing at a top-level but with less expectation, would be great for him. They have a top manager in Nuno Espírito Santo and play with three central defenders – which I think would suit Stones down to the ground.

While Conor Coady, Willy Boly, and Romain Saïss do a cracking job at the back, Stones could help take that team to the next level… if he can re-find his form.

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