Swansea boss Garry Monk has expressed his admiration for Everton over the way they handled the John Stones transfer saga.
Monk’s men have to break down an Everton defence featuring Stones at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday as they seek to bounce back from last weekend’s first defeat of the season at Watford.
But Monk feels the Toffees have struck a blow for clubs outside the Barclays Premier League’s top-six elite.
Everton stood firm in the face of three offers from champions Chelsea last month – the last upwards of £30million which prompted the England defender to hand in a transfer request – with
manager Roberto Martinez insisting all along the 21-year-old was not for sale.
And Everton’s stance was immediately rewarded last weekend when Stones produced a cultured performance in a 3-1 home victory over Chelsea.
“Roberto was very clear on the situation and credit to Everton that they’ve followed through on it,” Monk said.
“I personally admire that because it’s very difficult for clubs like Everton and ourselves – clubs outside that top six – when teams come in for your players.
“It’s not just this league, but other leagues as well, that teams can come in and poach a player and wave that cheque in your face.
“Sometimes it’s very difficult to stop a player having his head turned in those situations.
“It is a so-called step up and a different pay packet I would imagine, but that’s testament to the club.
“They’ve stayed strong from the start and it doesn’t look like it’s distracted him. He’s a very good player and you can see why he’s attracted the interest he’s attracted.
“But all credit to him. He looks to be getting on with it, which is what you should do as a player.”
Swansea enjoyed a resounding 3-0 victory over Everton in the Capital One Cup last season but have never beaten the Toffees in 20 league attempts.
Monk says it would be pleasing to “put that record to bed” but admits it will be a difficult challenge, particularly as he says he has detected a change in Everton’s approach this season.
“They had a difficult season last year for various reasons but they’ve started this one well and shown their true quality,” Monk said as he prepares for another reunion with Martinez, his former
Swansea team-mate and manager.
“The players they’ve got at the club they should be a top 10 side as that’s been their history.
“They finished outside the top 10 last season and that would have been seen as below-par at Everton, but they don’t have Europe this season and I’m sure they feel they will be able to concentrate on the league.
“Roberto’s a good manager and they’ve probably changed their game a little bit this season.
“They’ve adapted their game, they can be direct at times and vary it up a bit.
“We are expecting a difficult game because they are obviously full of confidence after last weekend’s result.”