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John Stones finally joins Pep's revolution at Manchester City in £47.5m deal

By Liam Blackburn

Published 10/08/2016

Record breaker: John Stones is now the most expensive British defender
Record breaker: John Stones is now the most expensive British defender

Manchester City have spent a record transfer fee for a British defender by signing John Stones from Everton for £47.5m.

The 22-year-old has become City's eighth signing of the summer by penning a six-year deal at the Etihad Stadium, joining the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus in Pep Guardiola's first transfer window.

The move was confirmed yesterday morning, shortly after Stones had been included in City's Champions League squad list on Uefa's official website.

And the figure makes the Yorkshireman the second most expensive defender of all time - behind only Paris St Germain's David Luiz, who moved to the French capital from Chelsea for £50m.

"I just rang my mum and all of family and said, 'I can't believe that I'm here, playing for such a big club, the best manager in the world'. It just all seems so surreal," Stones said on City TV.

"It will take me a few weeks to settle in and get my head around everything, but I'm super excited."

Stones, who has been capped on 10 occasions by England, leaves Everton after making 95 appearances in three and a half years having moved from Barnsley for £3m in January 2013.

The Toffees rejected repeated bids from Chelsea last summer for Stones, the last of which amounted to £30m, when new Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was at the Stamford Bridge helm.

Mourinho's old nemesis has managed to tempt Stones across the city, though, with Guardiola depleted in the centre-back region due to injuries to Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.

"We want to help John show his quality with us and improve on what he has already achieved," Guardiola said.

"I like the way John plays the game and I am looking forward to welcoming him into the squad."

And Stones revealed that playing under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was one of the main reasons why he agreed the switch.

"I always know there's a lot of improvement for my game personally," Stones added.

"I think it's 110% the right decision to play under him. I'm so thankful I've got this opportunity to come here, train with the best and improve day in, day out. He's a winner and that's what's going to rub off on everyone."

Although confirmation of his move arrived yesterday morning, Stones was registered on City's Champions League play-off squad list prior to the midnight deadline.

A Uefa spokesperson clarified that the governing body had automatically published the list given to it by City and that Stones was eligible to feature against Steaua Bucharest next Tuesday night.

Two players who were omitted from that squad were Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony.

Nasri was deemed overweight by Guardiola when he returned to pre-season training earlier this summer, while former Swansea striker Bony may have fallen further down the pecking order since Nolito was signed.

• Lamine Kone is due back at Sunderland for training today amid speculation that he could be heading for Everton in a big-money switch.

It's understood the 27-year-old central defender has been on Merseyside - a photograph of him posing with a Toffees fan has emerged in the last 24 hours - with a view to pushing through an £18m switch.

Everton have been in touch with the Black Cats over Kone and are aware what they would have to pay to land the Ivory Coast international, however, there is as yet no formal deal in place.

Belfast Telegraph

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