The editorial below is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect in any way the position of Royal Blue Mersey or SB Nation.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, you can’t quite keep the lid on things any more. Both Everton and Manchester City are sporting black eyes this morning after the fiasco of John Stones’ transfer left both clubs smarting with embarrassment.
City manager Pep Guardiola had been asked multiple times about how he felt about Stones. It is the way with media nowadays, and rare is the manager that will say “XYZ is a player for club ABC, and I will not speak about him”, which is the correct thing to do in the situation. Until the Football Association fines a club and/or manager for tampering, this will continue relentlessly.
Everton for their part reportedly turned down a £42 million offer from City, as well as a player plus cash offer for the defender. However, at no point were any of these statements made officially, and fans were already bracing themselves for another protracted saga akin to the beginning of last season when Chelsea repeatedly tried to sign the player despite the Toffee’s firm refusal to let the player go.
Nothing seemed to have changed in the buildup to this new season, including the rumours that the player had submitted a transfer request as well, similar to last year. And it seemed like nothing had changed, with City refusing to meet the £50 million valuation the Blues had placed on the player, and Guardiola continuing to speak about the Everton player.
And then this morning it all hit the fan. News broke that City had actually submitted Stones’ name in their Champions League roster along with the squad number of 24, the deadline for which was yesterday.
“The defender has been named in the squad for the Premier League side’s Champions League play-off with Steaua Bucharest next Tuesday as the club look to secure their place in the group-stags of the elite competition.”
The fiasco didn’t end there, as Manchester City were then contacted about the issue, and their patronizing answer rubbed Everton fans quite the wrong way. Talking to Sky Sport, a club source said -
“Manchester City’s Champions League squad is a huge embarrassment for the club. However, the club are trying to keep their sense of humour about it.
“The player has not signed a contract with the club yet.
“It’s been a right royal mess.”
I’d say a right royal mess is quite right, you smarmy moron.
And then finally there’s our royal blue club, who despite bringing in a new owner, new manager and overhauling the board, continue to come off like a bunch of bungling Benny Hill sidekicks the likes of which we’ve only ever see on the telly.
The only official word from the club so far has been a day late, starting with first this lame tweet -
CONFIRMED: John Stones has today joined Manchester City for a record transfer fee. #EFC— Everton (@Everton) August 9, 2016
And then these three sentences on the club website -
John Stones has joined Manchester City for a record transfer fee.
Stones arrived at Everton from Barnsley on transfer deadline day in January 2013 for £3million.
His Blues debut came in a League Cup win over Stevenage seven months later and, in total, he made 95 appearances for the Club, scoring one Premier League goal.
The sheer ridiculousness of the whole fiasco has me shaking my head this morning. What happened to all the talk about keeping our best players, and having a £100 million transfer kitty so that we wouldn’t lose them?
So not only did we lose Stones, but the club doesn’t have the decency to come out ahead of time and say something to the fans about us giving up possibly the best English-born defender in years?
Call it fume, call it outrage, but Everton might shout loud from the rooftops that “Nothing will be the same”, but at the end of the day we can all see clearly that everything remains exactly the same for our once-proud club.