Transfer talk 'unwanted' for Chelsea & City target
Chelsea & Manchester City transfer news: John Stones focused on life at Barnsley
Chelsea and Manchester City defender target John Stones is not interested in transfer talk and focused on life in the Npower Championship, according to his agent.
The 18-year-old Barnsley full-back has recently come to the attention of clubs in the Premier League, with the Daily Mirror claiming last week that the Blues, Citizens and Everton were all tracking the player.
However, Georgina Lillis has tried to play down talk of a potential move away from Oakwell in the January transfer window, and insists that the youngster will be better served playing first-team football with the Tykes.
"There has been a lot of unwanted paper talk with regards to John. It doesn't benefit the club and it doesn't benefit John,” agent Lillis told SkySports.
"Just because a scout is seen in the stands, it doesn't mean a player is on the move next window. John is at a point in his career where he needs to be playing first team football and to keep developing as a player.
“Barnsley is doing just that and valuable experience with England is helping him progress. If there is any interest or approach from Premier League clubs for John then that's between them and Barnsley.”
The agent was unsurprisingly happy to admit that the teenager does aspire to play at the highest level in England however; even if now doesn’t appear to be the best time for the academy graduate to make the step up.
"Of course John wants to play in the Premier League but what's most important, at this stage, is that he doesn't get his head turned and keeps working hard and improving."
The one-cap U19 international made his debut in March, and has appeared on a much more regular basis for Keith Hill’s side this term. He scored his first professional goal in the League Cup against Rochdale in August.
Stones’ rapid rise to prominence has put some of the biggest clubs in the country on alert, with Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo reported to be keen on the player.
Branislav Ivanovic currently fills the position at Stamford Bridge, with veteran Paulo Ferreira providing competition to the Serbian.
However, the 33-year-old former Portuguese international is moving towards the later stages of his career in west London, and Chelsea could be looking for a young replacement with over a decade ahead of him in the professional game.
As for Manchester City, manager Roberto Mancini showed his intentions to have an English core in his side with the addition of Jack Rodwell in the summer transfer window.
The Italian has also been tinkering with his defence this season, suggesting unhappiness with the vast amount of options currently available at the Etihad Stadium.
Stones would certainly be a signing for the future, although the Manchester City hierarchy would want to spend money on a player who will push Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta for first team action immediately.