Arsenal legend explains why Arteta must pursue £20m raid on former club
Ray Parlour has urged his former club Arsenal to make a bid for John Stones, whose future at Manchester City remains unclear.
Stones has fallen down the pecking order at City, after a season in which he has struggled with injury problems. The England centre-back made just 12 Premier League starts in 2019-20, the lowest of any of his four seasons at the Etihad Stadium.
With City agreeing a deal to sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth, and also in the hunt for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, Stones’ options are set to narrow even further.
Recent reports have indicated that Arsenal are willing to offer him a lifeline. Mikel Arteta worked with Stones when he was an assistant at City, and is looking to bolster the Gunners’ backline.
We revealed in March that Arteta was keen to reunite with Stones. And those links have since gathered pace, with Pep Guardiola unable to confirm the 26-year-old’s future would still be in Manchester.
However, West Ham have also emerged as contenders for Stones, who has 39 caps for England. And Arsenal legend Parlour thinks it would be a “brilliant deal” if either the Hammers or his former side can sign Stones for half the amount that City are paying for Ake.
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“That would be a great deal for West Ham if they could get John Stones for £20million,” Parlour told talkSPORT.
“Especially when you look at Nathan Ake who is going to City for £40m…
“Arsenal are desperate for a centre-half, so why don’t they take a chance and try to put in a bid for Stones?
“He’s had a bad time in recent years and he hasn’t really gone to where City thought he might go to, but you don’t become a bad defender overnight, he just needs a bit of coaching.
“And that’s where it could be key with Arsenal, because obviously Arteta has worked with him over the last few years at Man City.
“But if West Ham could get him for that price it would be a great deal, an absolutely brilliant deal.”
Chelsea another option for Stones
As well as Arsenal and West Ham, a third London-based club have shown an interest in Stones.
Reports suggest Chelsea are also in the running to sign him. The Blues have spent big on their attack so far, but are in the market for defensive reinforcements as well.
Frank Lampard has used a back three with Chelsea recently. It’s a system Stones has shown he is comfortable in throughout his England career.
The Barnsley-born defender has just two years left on his contract at Manchester City. And he recently admitted his frustration over how the last few months have gone.
Stones told Sky Sports earlier this month: “It has been really frustrating from a personal perspective. Injury re-occurrence, then little things like getting injured a few days in after lockdown.
“It’s been frustrating. I’ve tried to stay positive, and be ready when I’m called upon, and I feel I have been.”