Is John Stones living up to the hype?
Daily fantasy football game www.oulala.com have taken a look at defenders from across Europe alongside the Everton centre-back and have identified players from Atlético Madrid, Empoli and Saint-Etienne as excellent alternatives to the 21-year-old, who has been linked to Chelsea and Manchester City.
Despite Manuel Pellegrini's view that his squad is complete, strongly suggesting that Manchester City will not be bringing in any players during the January transfer window, his side continue to concede goals at an alarming rate in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany.
City's lack of quality at the back has left Pellegrini's side three points adrift of league leaders Leicester City, following Saturday's 2-2 draw away at West Ham United. City have failed to pick up back-to-back Premier League wins since October.
With Kompany expected to be at least four weeks away from a return, it leaves Nicolás Otamendi and Martín Demichelis as City's current partnership at the heart of their defence. Pellegrini's side have conceded just two goals in the nine games in which Kompany has appeared, this has dramatically risen to 21 goals in 14 games without the Belgian.
Chelsea are looking for a long-term replacement for ageing captain John Terry and made three bids last summer, all of which were rejected by the Toffees. The top bid came in at around £40million for the England international.
Oulala cover a host of Europe's top leagues, including the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, boasting an extensive database of statistics covering every player from each of the four leagues. The data collected by Oulala is sourced straight from Opta, making it the perfect tool to analyse and assess Europe's finest defenders.
The Independent have teamed up with Oulala to present three defenders, alongside Everton's John Stones, from around Europe, who possess the ability to firm up the Manchester City defence and in turn help push their title challenge this season. However, Pellegrini will need to swallow his pride and look to improve his side now if he has ambitions to steal a march on Leicester and Arsenal.
With City and Chelsea continuously linked with Everton's Stones, we've taken a look at the 21-year-old centre-back alongside three of this season's top performing defenders from around Europe.
Our analysis includes Diego Godín of La Liga side Atlético Madrid, linked with a switch to the Etihad last summer. We've also taken a close look at Lorenzo Tonelli from Serie A outfit Empoli, who is currently being linked with Italian giants AC Milan and Loïc Perrin from Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne, a player previously linked with Arsenal.
The highly rated Everton defender ranks fourth of the four players for five of the seven key areas analysed. The stats highlight that Manchester City may opt to avoid the 21-year-old and look to players outside the Premier League.
Stones has won the fewest tackles of the four players (1.3 per game). In contrast, Godin and Perrin lead with 1.7 successful tackles per match. However, it is Tonelli who comes out on top for overall tackle success rate. The Italian has won an impressive 63 per cent of his attempted challenges.
The Everton defender's frailties are also highlighted by the amount of interceptions and clearances he is averaging per game. While Stones is making 1.9 interceptions per game, Godin and Tonelli are averaging 3.4 interceptions per match. Tonelli also leads for clearances, making an average of 6.1 per game, compared to Stones' 3.9 per match.
One area that Stones does lead is blocks. The 21-year-old is averaging 1.1 per game. In contrast, Godin is making an average of just 0.3 per match.
The stats show that Stones offers little aerially compared to the other three players. While the England international is winning an average of 1.3 aerial duels per game, Loïc Perrin is winning an average of 3.5 per match.
An area of Stones' game that has been questioned on more than one occasion this season has been his decision making, as highlighted by the number of defensive errors that he has made (3).
Rather than joining Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona in a battle for the 21-year-old's signature, the figures show that there are far better options elsewhere for Manchester City, and at a more attractive price-tag.
Stats supplied by daily fantasy football game www.oulala.com
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