According to a report in The Express, Tottenham Hotspur are ready to go head-to-head with arch-rivals Arsenal in a bid to sign £50m-rated Manchester City centre-back John Stones.
The report says that Spurs are keen on the 25-year-old with Pep Guardiola ready to show him the door at the Emirates, having clearly run out of patience with the injury and error-prone 25-year-old, who has also clearly struggled with his confidence.
Guardiola wants to recoup the £50m fee he paid Everton for the defender’s services in 2016, and he might have a keen buyer in Mourinho, who The Express say was keen on him when he was in charge at Chelsea.
Tottenham could certainly do with some defensive reinforcements having conceded 40 goals in their 29 Premier League matches this season to date, while they of course conceded seven goals at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last year, too.
Here, FFC’s writers give their verdict on a potential move to Spurs for Stones…
“John Stones has received bad press following a handful of high profile errors for both club and country, but there is no doubt that the 25-year-old can still become one of the best on the planet in his position.
“On his day he is truly Paolo Maldini-esque, gliding across the turf with grace and intelligence to break up the play. He showed that much during the early days of his budding partnership with Aymeric Laporte, with an outstanding display against Liverpool in a 0-0 draw at Anfield a particular highlight.
“While Pep Guardiola’s positive influence on his ball-playing ability has certainly manifested during his time at Manchester City, lapses in concentration and errors in judgement have stunted his progress.
“With that in mind, Jose Mourinho is the master he needs to fine-tune his defensive repertoire and take him to the level many expected – and are still expecting – him to reach.
“In the midst of a new era under Mourinho at Spurs, the arrival of Stones would be a Levy masterstroke.”
“There’s no question Stones has immense talent – he has quite literally won everything there is to win in England’s top-flight, racking up multiple league and cup titles all by the age of 25.
“Graeme Souness even compared him to Ballon d’Or runner-up Virgil van Dijk as recently as January, claiming the England international has everything it takes to reach that level if he can get “his act together”.
“However, a link-up with Jose Mourinho seems like a match made in hell. Stones has recoiled and regressed every time he has been challenged by Pep Guardiola, so how is he going to fare when Mourinho lashes out at him publicly like he did with Tanguy Ndombele?
“Given Spurs’ weakness in defence and Stones’ susceptibility to foolish blunders like his slip in the Carabao Cup final, it surely wouldn’t be long before he’d get outed like Ndombele has.”
“The link to John Stones is certainly an interesting one.
“Jose Mourinho clearly needs to strengthen his Tottenham Hotspur backline this summer, with the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris simply not as good as they once were, with mistakes becoming more and more common in their respective games.
“That makes the choice of targeting the Manchester City centre-back even stranger then, given his own tendency to make errors that can lead to goalscoring chances and goals for opponents, as in the 2020 Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa.
“Perhaps the Portuguese manager believes he can develop the England international’s game in north London to make him a solid defender – it would certainly be a risky move though, especially if he was to cost £50m.”
In other Tottenham news, talkSPORT pundit Adrian Durham has launched a brutal attack on Harry Kane & Jose Mourinho…