Controversial QPR midfielder Joey Barton has added his voice to the ever growing lists of fans, pundits and critics calling for an improvement to the Arsenal defence. The former Newcastle midfielder recently granted an interview in which he advised Wenger to go all out to sign Everton’s defender, John Stones.
“If you look at Arsenal and the style they play, surely they are looking at John Stones for Everton. He fits their model,” the QPR midfielder told BBC’s ‘Match of the Day 2 Extra‘.
“He’s an exceptional player. He’s going to be the hub of Everton’s defence. Reality says that you’re going to pay a premium for him with the longer you wait because he’s going to keep improving and improving with game time.
“They take the likes of [Calum] Chambers so they do invest in youth. But then you look at it, if they sort the back four out, the midfield is still relatively weak.
“If you look at the great sides Wenger built and they all could compete. To win a title, as [Jose] Mourinho knows, as [Sir Alex] Ferguson knew, you have to be able to go away, at this time of the year and dog a game out. I think Arsene just want to play this pretty football.”
Fine words, especially when you understand the personality behind the interview. Stones is no doubt one of the most promising defenders in the EPL. Recall that he was placed on Roy Hodgson’s standby list before the last World Cup in Brazil.
Considering how poor we have defended this season, and injuries to key players, signing an EPL-ready defender like Stones won’t be a bad idea. His stock has continued to rise since making the first team of his club, and as Barton rightly said, that could yet rise with the way he is playing at the moment.
However, Everton is not one of those clubs you could boss around when it comes to transfers. It is one of the most difficult clubs to deal with in terms of transfer negotiations, and Arsenal may have to brace up for a fight if they really want to sign him.