Everton almost missed out on £37million-rated star
Everton chief scout Tony Henry has revealed how the Toffees nearly missed out on the signing of star centre back John Stones.
Over the last few years, Stones has arguably developed into one of the finest young central defenders around in Europe and this was evidenced by the fact that Chelsea were keen on splashing over £30million for the defender this summer, while at the same time, Everton did not allow their prized asset to leave despite being offered such an extortionate amount.
Everton fans are delighted at the fact that the club managed to keep hold of Stones, whose value will only increase in the future, and now club Chief scout Tony Henry has gone on to reveal that the Toffees could have missed out on the signing of the 21-year old if it were not for his intervention.
Stones joined Everton from Barnsley back in 2013 under former manager David Moyes but the Scotsman’s coaching staff was not entirely convinced with the defender ahead of his arrival. However, Henry pushed Moyes to go ahead with the signing and the fans will certainly be thankful to the chief scout for convincing the Toffees staff.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Henry said, “I was with David for seven years and got on great with him, he was as good as gold to me. With John Stones, it was quite funny. I’d seen John play a few times but on this occasion, I’d gone to watch a different player at Rochdale v Barnsley, in an early round of the League Cup.
“John was playing at right-back but after 10 minutes I rang the gaffer up and said: ‘We’ve got to take this kid’. The gaffer said: ‘We’ll talk about it on Monday’. I came in on the Monday telling him that Stones was ‘this and that’ but David said: ‘We’ll monitor him’ but he knew what I was like.
“To be fair, other people had been to watch him and the reports said: ‘He can’t do this, he can’t do that’ but I was adamant. It went all the way to deadline day. Wigan were the only other club that wanted to sign him and I couldn’t understand that. You’re thinking: ‘They are bottom of the league and why aren’t more clubs interested?’.
“We had a meeting in the gaffer’s room on deadline day and he went round everybody – Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden, asking if we should take Stones. The consensus was ‘no’. Jimmy was the only one who said: ‘He’s not bad’.
“I was being told that we didn’t need a right-back but I kept saying that he wasn’t a right-back, but a centre-half. I could see where the kid was going and that he was going to grow into a top centre-half. It got to 4pm and his agent was in touch to say that John was on his way to have a medical at Wigan.
“‘Do you want him?’ he said. It was only then that David went: ‘Right, okay, we will go for it’. The others were shaking their heads because they didn’t want him.”