Manchester United are reportedly eyeing a swoop for Everton defender John Stones as they are prepared to battle Chelsea for the player’s signature.
Van Gaal’s need for defensive reinforcements will see him turn toward Everton’s John Stones. The Daily Mail reports the manager is “lining up a summer move” for the ball-playing Englishman, who established himself alongside Phil Jagielka at the heart of the Toffees defence during the 2014-15 campaign.
Stones scored against United in April and is fast developing into a top-quality defender. His assurance on the ball is likely attractive to Van Gaal, who often tries to get his defence to play out from the back. This is something Chris Smalling has put into motion over the last couple of months for both United and England, opening his game up somewhat.
It’s unlikely Everton would let Stones leave at this point, having released fellow defenders Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz, reported by the Premier League. Manager Roberto Martinez needs to find younger alternatives during the summer, but it would be a huge step backward if he let Stones leave before he’s significantly contributed to the club. Cash could speak volumes, though.
Stones would also be an excellent signing and could finally end Phil Jones’ hopes of becoming a leader at United. Van Gaal should be searching for a combination of experience and exciting youth, with Stones falling into the latter category.