The messages coming out of the club have been encouraging so far, and from Stones himself too, but that needs to continue long into the future.
Roberto Martinez has said that Stones is not for sale and that he sees the 21 year old as the future captain of Everton. And rightly so.
£20m is a paltry starting offer, even considering Stones’ age, and smacks of the old Football Manager trick to unsettle a player. Except in reality, for now at least, it hasn’t worked.
The young England defender has also made a statement that he wants to keep progressing at Everton and learn from his current captain, Phil Jagielka.
That fact sets him apart from the subjects of transfer bids in the past. Joleon Lescott, he isn’t.
When Manchester City came knocking for Lescott, the former Wolves man kept a steely silence in the media before eventually handing in a transfer request when David Moyes was satisfied the money was right. He may have picked up a Premier League winners’ medal since then, but his career, both domestically and internationally, has bombed.
John Stones knows he has the potential to become this generation’s best English centre half, but he also seems to know that he stands a better chance of doing so while playing at Everton.
Under the careful guidance of Roberto Martinez, Stones – like many other youngsters at the club – can fulfil their potential. There is a reason that Luke Garbutt chose to sign a new contract with the Blues this summer, and why the likes of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku put so much trust in the Everton boss. That reason is that they know he will help them become the footballers we can all see them becoming.
In five year’s time, Stones could be among the best footballers in the world, and will likely attract interest from Barcelona or Real Madrid for the types of fees they pay for World Class players.
Until then though, Everton should continue to send out the message that there isn’t enough money to be made from black market energy in Russia to prise Stones from our grasp.
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