Everyone is looking forward to Manchester City vs Manchester United this season.
Not only do the two city rivals look set to do battle for the Premier League title, the presence of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in the respective dugouts adds plenty of fire to an already fiery clash.
While the battle between the two managers is likely to be the main talking point come the season’s first Manchester Derby on September 10, there will only be another intriguing battle.
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That’s because both clubs have brought relatively young defenders for relative large fees. We are, of course, talking about John Stones and Eric Bailly.
But which club has got the better deal? Well, we’ve taken a look at five important aspects and there’s one winner.
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We’ve looked at three key defensive stats from last season: interceptions, errors leading to goals and tackles won. Despite playing eight less league matches than Stones, Bailly comes out on top. The Ivorian made 65 interceptions for Villarreal - 11 more than Stones.
Also, Bailly only made one defensive error that led to a goal compared to Stones’ three.
Stones does come out on top in terms of tackles won, however, he only registered four more than Bailly despite playing almost 700 minutes more.
Stones 0-1 Bailly
We know that both defenders are likely to improve in the future (we’ll get to that) but we’re talking about current ability here.
Stones has had three seasons in the Premier League with Everton and proved he’s more than capable of playing in the top-flight.
However, Bailly hasn’t quite got the same experience. Last campaign was the most he’s played in a single season, making 25 league appearances. Even after Mourinho splashed £30 million on him, the Portuguese boss admitted he was unsure whether he was ready for Premier League football.
Therefore, Stones gets the nod.
Stones 1-1 Bailly
This is certainly a tough one. Both players are 22-years-old and have the potential to improve in the future.
Having only played 40 matches in La Liga, Bailly will no doubt improve playing in the Premier League at United. However, there’s only so much a tough-tackling centre-back can improve.
Stones has the potential to become the next Rio Ferdinand for England. His potential may have been stunted at Everton but under Guardiola at City, he will improve immensely. Playing for a side challenging for the title, and in the Champion League, will see Stones reach his massive potential.
Stones 2-1 Bailly
Despite Chris Smalling lacking a real centre-back partner at Old Trafford last season, they had the joint best defensive record in the league. The likes of Daley Blind, Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones are all capable of playing alongside Smalling so the signing of Bailly wasn’t really a necessity for Mourinho.
City may have only conceded six more goals than United but central defence is exactly where they needed to strengthen this summer. Vincent Kompany was riddled with injury last season while Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi often struggled.
Not to mention that fact that Guardiola insists on his side to play out from the back and Stones is the perfect man for that.
Stones 3-1 Bailly
Value for money
Both defenders came with a hefty price-tag. Bailly arrived in a £30million deal, while Stones commanded a massive £47.5million.
Stones may have the potential to be one of the league’s best defenders, there’s no way he should cost almost £50million. Bailly has already shown he can be a strong defender in this United side and £30million seems fair considering his age.
Stones 3-2 Bailly
So, Stones comes out on top when comparing the two signings. We just have to wait a couple of weeks to see which player comes out on top on the pitch.
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