By Dominic Toner
John Stones has revealed that England team-mates Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling played a big part in him quitting Everton for Manchester City.
City completed the signing of Stones on Tuesday morning for a reported £47.5million.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of the boys here, like Joe and Raheem, and they wanted me to come,” Stones said, as quoted by the Express. “They said ‘We need you, we want you here and with all the boys you’ll settle in quick’. They didn’t try and persuade me too much, I was kind of sold already.”
Stones’ arrival continues City’s strategy of building for the future by buying up top young players.
On top of buying Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Patrick Roberts last summer, City have now signed Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Marlos Moreno, Aleks Zinchenko plus Stones this summer. All of them are aged 25 or under.
In addition, the fee is comfortably a new record either incoming or outgoing for the Merseyside club.
The highest sum Everton have received was £27million when Maroanne Fellaini joined Manchester United in 2013, while their record outlay is the £28million spent to entice Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea 12 months later.
Stones showed flashes of potential throughout a tumultuous season for Everton in 2015-16, playing in 41 games in all competitions, but he did not figure for England at Euro 2016 after being omitted in favour of Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill.
Toffees fans will hope Everton can sign a replacement now the deal is done, with just two experienced central defenders left at the club in Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori.
Sky Sports claimed on their transfer centre blog (12:08pm) that Swansea defender Ashley Williams was travelling to Merseyside to undergo a medical ahead of signing a two-year deal.
Danny Gabbidon uploaded on image on social media of his arrival at Everton and they are set to secure an immediate replacement for Stones.
In other Everton transfer news, David Moyes has lined up the club’s senior defender as transfer merry-go-round steps up.