John Stones likely heading for Man City transfer exit as Nathan Ake arrives to help Pep’s back ache
Aug. 05, 2020
PEP GUARDIOLA hopes Nathan Ake can help solve the back problems that have plagued Manchester City for more than a year.
Bournemouth centre-back Ake, 25, arrived at the Etihad last night to put the finishing touches to his £41million move.
And with the Dutchman’s arrival, it seems inevitable John Stones will now leave after a nightmare 18-month spell.
From the minute they lifted the FA Cup to complete the domestic Treble in May 2019, City have had a gap at the heart of their defence.
That day, skipper Vincent Kompany announced in the Wembley dressing rooms he was leaving after 11 glorious years.
Pep wanted Harry Maguire last summer but City were not willing to pay Leicester’s £85m asking price — and rivals United were.
So the Etihad hierarchy decided to wait for the right man to become available.
But just days after the transfer deadline, Aymeric Laporte suffered a serious knee ligament injury.
By the time he returned in January this year, the league title was already on its way down the M62 to Anfield.
Stones, who Pep wanted as his first signing, also struggled for fitness, while veteran midfielder Fernandinho, 35, was converted to centre-back.
Nicolas Otamendi tried but is no longer the answer, while Eric Garcia, 19, looks destined for a bright future.
Ake will be a bystander tonight as City face Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg.
Joleon Lescott, their double title-winning defender, told the Football Index Podcast: “Bournemouth were relegated but Ake is more than capable.
“He rarely has a bad game and his decision-making is excellent.
“Stones gets a rough time because he has performed. But he hasn’t reached the potential many thought he had.”
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