Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes John Stones would be making a mistake by swapping Everton for either Manchester United or Chelsea this summer. Instead, the former Premier League defender has advised the 21-year-old to stay at Goodison Park and develop his game as a first-team regular.
Chelsea have launched a very public pursuit of Stones in the last few weeks and, on Wednesday, saw their second bid of £26million rejected by the Toffees. News of this bid, a £6m increase on their opening bid, was leaked to the press in an attempt to unsettle the defender further.
Manchester United are also reported to be tracking the situation with Louis van Gaal keen to replace the outgoing Jonny Evans. With Roberto Martinez believed to be interested in the Old Trafford star, the idea of a swap deal has become a distinct possibility.
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However, leaving for either of the Premier League juggernauts will almost certainly see his role in the first team diminish. Manchester United have Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo competing for the Red Devils while Jose Mourinho's rigid structure at Stamford Bridge favours both Gary Cahill and John Terry.
It is for this reason that Keown, who helped Arsenal to all three of their Premier League titles between 1998 and 2004, believes Everton is the best place for the young England international to reach his massive potential.
"I feel he needs to stay at Everton because there are things he needs to work on in his game"
Speaking the gambling website 888.com, the BBC pundit said: "I feel he needs to stay at Everton because there are things he needs to work on in his game. I'd like to see him more commanding from crosses and set pieces."
Mourinho is determined
But it seems as though Chelsea's aggressive strategy of openly pursuing the youngster is working well. Stones is reportedly unsettled with the Toffees and has told them that he would like to make the move to west London.
Everton are ready to sell, but only if Chelsea agree to make him the most expensive British defender of all time. Rio Ferdinand currently holds that record after Manchester Untied paid £29m to sign him in 2002, but Everton want in excess of £30m for Stones.
Is Martin Keown right? Does John Stones need to stay at Everton to reach his potential? Give us YOUR thoughts in the comment box below!