With Lewis Gibson expected to be loaned out this season and Jarrad Branthwaite unlikely to be a regular in the first-team, Everton could benefit from another centre-back to accompany Mason Holgate, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane.
We’ve been linked with Unai Nunez, Mohammed Salisu, Branislav Ivanovic, Jean-Clair Todibo, John Stones, Wesley Fofana, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mykola Matviyenko, Morata, Thiago Silva, Gian Marco Ferrari, Kristoffer Ajer, Marash Kumbulla, Christian Luyindama, Issa Diop, Dael Fry, Fiyako Tomori, Nikola Maksimović, Diego Godin and Tosin Adarabioyo among others, but Stones may no longer be attainable as wants to fight for his place at Manchester City.
What has gone wrong for Stones at City?
The 26-year-old has made 133 appearances since joining City in 2016, winning two Premier League titles, three EFL Cups, one FA Cup and two Community Shields, but things fell apart for Stones last season.
Stones looked set for an exit this summer when City were being linked with centre-backs, but their failure to replace Garcia (who joined Barcelona) now sees the England international wanting to prove himself. He should have a better chance of playing without the 19-year-old for competition.
Was he really a target for Everton?
It appears so. You could have guessed we’d be linked with Stones due to our past association, but there was genuine interest from the Everton camp. We’ve been on the hunt for a new centre-back this summer and certainly got the best from Stones when he was at Goodison Park, so it made sense for us to return.
I questioned whether Stones would be open to the step down from City and noted how expensive he could be with two years left on his contract, so it’s unlikely a deal would have got over the line. Had City brought in another centre-back, Stones may have been sold at a cut-price.
Who will we go for instead?
Probably Tomori now. We were closing in on the 22-year-old days ago and he’s since been left out of Chelsea’s matchday squad in Monday’s 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion, so a loan move looks on the cards. Tomori could fall behind Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger in the pecking order, so we should be able to land his signature.