Mirror: City now 'favourites' to sign John Stones
- 31 January 2016 09:00
- Posted by @MPHenson
Deadline Day is looming but the transfer talk is looking towards the summer, plus reaction from yesterday’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa...
Despite it being the final day of the January transfer window tomorrow, transfer news is thin on the ground with the gossip that is featured looking ahead to the summer.
Today’s rumour that stands out is that the Mirror are reporting that City are now favourites to sign Everton defender John Stones.
Chelsea attempted to sign the England international in the summer but the Toffees rejected their bids and Andy Dunn writes that City are now at the front of the queue for the 21-year old: “Manchester City are emerging as the hot favourites to land £50million star John Stones.
“Champions Chelsea still retain an interest in Stones, but it is not as keen as it was last summer under now-sacked manager Jose Mourinho.
“And, of course, the Stamford Bridge club’s struggles this season means it remains unlikely they will be able to offer Stones immediate Champions League football.
“Goodson Park officials now expect City to be at the front of the pursuit of 21-year-old Stones, who has come under fire from sections of the Everton support recently.
“Barcelona and fellow Spanish super-club Real Madrid are monitoring the situation, but England international Stones is believed to want to stay in the Premier League for now.”
The Stones story is also featured in the Daily Star and they state that City are ‘confident’ they can capture the highly-rated defender after ‘learning his preference to stay in England’.
Paul Hetherington states: “Manchester City believe they can win the £50 million battle for John Stones in the summer.
“Chelsea made repeated bids up to £38m for Everton’s star without success.
“They will try again at the end of the season as Stones, 21, will not move before the transfer window closes on Monday night.
“But City are quietly confident they can capture Stones after learning his preference is to stay in England – which will disappoint Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, who have both shown an interest in the defender.
“That would leave Chelsea, City and probably Manchester United fighting for pole position in the race to sign him.”
Enough of the transfer talk for today, let’s take a quick breeze through the reaction to yesterday’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa in the Emirates FA Cup.
As expected, the feature of most of the match reports is Kelechi Iheanacho after he scored a hat-trick to help City progress into the Fifth Round.
The Manchester Evening News’ Rob Pollard scribes: “There was a lot of pressure on Kelechi Iheanacho ahead of this game. A 19-year-old, asked to lead the line on his own in an FA Cup game away from home, isn't an easy task.
“But this is no ordinary 19-year-old. The Nigerian youngster is set for stardom, and that potential was underlined further with a wonderful display of maturity, intelligence and technical quality at Villa Park.”
James Nursey, of the Mirror, was also quick to praise the 19-year old in their ‘five things they learned’ article: “The young striker, 19, has been tipped for a big future since helping his native Nigeria win the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
“He struck twice here with three clinical finishes – including one from the spot – to leave City fans singing his name.”
The Guardian’s report of the game at Villa Park oozed praise for the young Nigerian, including this description of the third goal.
Paul Wilson writes: “Iheanacho’s third came courtesy of a dreadful back pass from Gana, inviting the striker to run into an empty half and beat Guzan at his leisure, though it must be said he did so with some aplomb.”
And finally, with City looking comfortable yesterday due to Kelechi’s hat-trick, Manuel Pellegrini gave a second appearance to Bersant Celina and debuts to Angelino and Cameron Humphreys – something the Daily Mail’s Joe Bernstein describes as ‘one quadruple City are already celebrating’.
“Manchester City are celebrating one quadruple already. Once 19-year-old Academy graduate Kelechi Iheanacho had completed a fine hat-trick, manager Manuel Pellegrini was able to send on three more homegrown kids to give City fans an exciting glimpse into the future.
“Trophy-wise, City could win the lot this season; they are now into the FA Cup fifth round, Capital One Cup final, knockout stages of the Champions League and are only three points off the top of the Premier League.”