Three reasons why Chelsea target John Stones should join Man United
Ned Bristow suggest three reasons why Chelsea target John Stones should join Man United
1) Playing time
Since the retirement of Rio Ferdinand and the departure of Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United have struggled to settle on a regular centre-half pairing. Many players have featured in the role over the past two seasons, with Chris Smalling finally emerging as the only certain choice in the position, while players such as Daley Blind and Michael Carrick have been preferred there to out-and-out centre halves. This is seen by many as the root of United’s problems: a lack of consistency at the back leading to unsettled defensive frailties. John Stones would have no problem cementing himself at the heart of Louis van Gaal’s defence, be it in a back three where his pace would excel or a central two where he and Chris Smalling would surely be given time to become a successful long-term partnership. At Chelsea, there is little chance to Jose Mourinho would be so bold as to drop John Terry or Gary Cahill altogether despite his substitutions of late, while the Portuguese is also seemingly intent on pushing Kurt Zouma further into the action this year. This would see 21-year-old Stones struggle to get assured game time; not the best course of action for a young player looking to secure his place in Roy Hodgson’s England fold.
2) New-look Man United
Van Gaal’s side is finally starting to take shape, on paper at least. His stamp has been well and truly placed on the Old Trafford dressing room door, and this will be the season to judge him on. Though uninspiring, his side have recorded two wins from two games this season and there is a hopeful optimism among fans that one or two more signings will see the side moulded into title challengers. While it would be naïve to rule Chelsea out at such an early stage, the champions’s all-round lack of strengthening compared to those around them could become their downfall in the infamously difficult effort to retain their title. Stones would do well to acknowledge the slowly changing tide in West Manchester and pledge his allegiance to the
Despite being of such a young age, Stones has made his name as a defender with an old head on 21-year-old shoulders. Composed and confident on the ball, his desired style fits perfectly with the check boxes sitting atop Van Gaal’s wishlist. Playing Daley Blind at centre-half is a clear indication of what the Dutchman expects from his defenders, and provides another reason why Stones would slot so effortlessly into United’s starting 11. With Smalling’s improved performances and leadership since Christmas, Stones must relish the chance to strike a balance with the ex-Fulham man that could see them both seal their places on the plane to – and on the pitch at – Euro 2016.