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How Everton beat Roberto Martinez to get John Stones

Things could have played out quite differently

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

It was the January transfer window in the 2012-13 season. Everton's chief scout at the time, Tony Henry, had been in manager David Moyes' ear for a few weeks about this young defender that the Blues should take a chance on. With just minutes to go before the close of the window though, it was Roberto Martinez who unwittingly landed John Stones at Goodison Park.

Henry had seen Stones play a few times previously, but that fateful winter he was actually at a League Cup game between Rochdale and Barnsley scouting another unnamed player. The Tykes had Stones lined up at right back, but that did not deter Henry's eye, who called Moyes after ten minutes to say -

"John was playing at right-back but after 10 minutes I rang the gaffer up and said: ‘We've got to take this kid'.

Moyes' told Henry they would talk a few days later, and when they finally did, he promised Henry that they would monitor Stones. Previous scouting reports on the player had not been positive but Henry knew he was onto something, and persisted, all the way to deadline day. Wigan, who were managed by Roberto Martinez, were bottom of the Premier League at the time and the only other team interested in Stones.

On deadline day, the Everton think tank of Moyes, assistant coach Steve Round, first-team coach Jimmy Lumsden and goalkeeping coach Chris Woods all voted against taking a chance on Stones, though Lumsden did say the kid was "not bad".

At 4pm in the afternoon, Stones' agent called Moyes to let him know that his client was driving to Wigan's DW Stadium for a medical. That seemed to convince the Scotsman that there might have been something in what Henry had been telling him all along, and Moyes pulled the trigger as Stones drove to Finch Farm instead and signed on for £3m, a sum considered high for a relative unknown at the time.

When Martinez signed on at Everton, he finally got the chance to manage the player he once tried to sign and could have possibly saved his side from relegation.

For more about Tony Henry's time at Everton, click here for the story he did with Liverpool Echo.