Off The Ball's new co-presenter gives his take on the big-money transfer
Kevin Kilbane believes Manchester City's signing of John Stones represents a "huge risk" but feels Jerome Boateng's progression is a good template to how the defender could develop successfully.
Stones left Kevin's former club Everton today in a £47.5 million deal to link up with Pep Guardiola's team.
"Considering last season that they turned down £35-40 million, all of a sudden now he's gone up in value and after the season he had - he was quite poor, we all accept that, particularly from Christmas onwards - he's gone up in value. But by all accounts, Pep Guardiola has admired him for a long time but is he going to fit into that City side?" he said on Off The Ball on his first night as co-presenter.
"The one thing when I'm looking at City at the moment, you look at them overall and you think that Pep Guardiola is going to come in with his tactics and how he's going to try and approach sides and impose themselves on others. The first few months of the season, the team is going to be under a lot of pressure defensively. You'll get sides playing different styles against you. But the one thing John Stones will give you is that ball-playing centre-half. He will be that player who will fit into Pep Guardiola's philosophy. So that's the one thing John Stones is going to give you. It's a lot of money and I still do think it's a huge risk at the money."
Picture by: Mike Egerton / PA Wire/Press Association Images
In terms of improving Stones, Kevin cited the example of Jerome Boateng at Bayern Munich who has developed into one of the world's best centre-backs in the period that Guardiola was in charge in Bavaria.
"Jerome Boateng is the one I would look at who I think he was outstanding at the Euros before his injury. I think he's proved now over the course of the last few seasons what a top defender he is. But he was first and foremost known as a ball-player," he said.
But from his first-hand view of the recent Wayne Rooney testimonial when the player came up against Manchester United's physically imposing new striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kevin had one concern regarding Stones.
"He looks slight. He looked like a boy compared to him."
Kevin also turned his attention to Stones' now former club team-mate Seamus Coleman who returns to Everton duty.
He feels that as a right-back he is "better" than the out-of-position Man United full-back Antonio Valencia, who he played with at Wigan.
"He was a good player to play alongside but he's not in the same class as Seamus Coleman and that's visibly obvious to any non-footballing man," he said, before looking at how Coleman progressed at Everton having come from outside the academy structure like other ex-League of Ireland players.
"Playing men's football in the League of Ireland helps as well, which is a massive thing which is in their favour when they're 17, 18."