Manchester City have finally completed the signing of John Stones from Everton, paying an initial £47.5m to make the 22-year-old the second most expensive defender in history after David Luiz.
The conclusion to a transfer saga that has been running all summer was, in effect, leaked by Uefa on Tuesday morning when it published the squad City had submitted for next week’s Champions League qualifying round game against Steaua Bucharest.
The Everton centre-half’s name was not only on the list; he had even been given 24 as a shirt number. Everton appeared to have been caught on the hop, as by that time Stones was already in Manchester and City were able to confirm the signing a couple of hours later.
The England international, who was wanted by José Mourinho at Chelsea this time last year, has signed a six-year deal and, though Everton put up a fight to keep him last summer, they have long been resigned to the inevitable and can at least console themselves with an enormous profit on a player David Moyes signed from Barnsley three years ago for a fee in the region of £3m.
A sell-on clause means that Barnsley will get between £7m and £9m from the deal.
Everton initially said they wanted £50m for the player, the sum PSG paid Chelsea for David Luiz in 2014, and succeeded in getting very close to their valuation. They are now expected to complete the signing of Ashley Williams from Swansea and are also pursuing an interest in Sunderland’s Lamine Koné.
Everton are also hoping to add Yannick Bolasie to their squad from Crystal Palace. A deal has been agreed in principle for the wideman although Everton will not meet Palace’s £30m valuation. If Palace accept an Everton offer of £25m, a deal could be in place by the weekend, subject to the player passing a medical.
Stones becomes the eighth player to join City this summer and, in terms of high-profile signings with immediate first-team prospects, the first defender. “I am absolutely delighted to sign for City and now the deal is done I’m looking forward to the next stage in my career,” he said.
“I’ve obviously seen what’s going on at the Etihad. It’s an ambitious club with a great manager so I can’t wait to get stuck in and help them achieve their goals.
“I know it will be tough getting a place in this team, but I’m determined to become the best player I can be and help us to success. I had a wonderful time at Everton and I wish them and their fans all the best but now I’ll give my all for
Pep Guardiola said he was pleased to complete the deal, having been keen to sign a ball-playing centre-back.
“We want to help John show his quality with us and improve on what he has already achieved,” the City manager said. “I like the way he plays the game and I’m looking forward to welcoming him into the squad.”
Swansea sources say a fee of around £11m has been agreed with Everton for Williams, who has passed a medical.