LONDON: Manchester City splashed out a reported £47.5 million ($61 million, 55 million euros) to sign England defender John Stones from Everton on Tuesday.
Stones agreed a six-year contract with City and is reported to have become the second most expensive defender in history behind Paris Saint Germain and Brazil star David Luiz.
“I’m absolutely delighted to sign for City and now the deal’s done I’m looking forward to the next stage in my career,” Stones told City’s website.
“I’ve obviously seen what’s going on here at the Etihad, it’s an ambitious club with a great manager so I can’t wait to get stuck in and help achieve the goals.”
News of Stones’ imminent move to Eastlands had leaked out earlier in the day when UEFA’s website included the 22-year-old centre-back City’s squad for next week’s Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucharest.
City responded by quickly announcing the deal, which puts Stones behind only Luiz as the most expensive defender the game has ever seen.
Luiz moved to Paris Saint Germain from Chelsea for £50 million in 2014 and has won two successive French titles, a feat that Stones is keen to emulate with City once he is established in the team.
“I know it will be tough getting a place in this team but I’m determined to become the best player I can be and help us to success,” Stones said.
“I had a wonderful time with Everton and wish them and their fans all the best but now I’ll give my all for City.”
Stones’ signing takes City manager Pep Guardiola’s spending to well over £100 million since he arrived from Bayern Munich in the close-season.
Guardiola, who has also signed Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Alexander Zinchenko, believes Stones perfectly fits his philosophy of having defenders who are as good in possession as they are in the tackle.
“We want to help John show his quality with us and improve on what he has already achieved,” Guardiola said.
“I like the way he plays the game and I’m looking forward to welcoming him into the squad.”
Stones, who has won 10 England caps, had hoped to join Chelsea last year and had a transfer request rejected when the London club’s bids were snubbed by Everton.
But Everton have finally relented and allowed their prize asset to leave Goodison Park as City flexed their financial muscles just hours after bitter rivals Manchester United completed a world record £89 million swoop for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
Stones’ arrival is a huge boost for Guardiola ahead of City’s Premier League opener at home to Sunderland on Saturday.
Guardiola had limited options at centre-back with Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi all struggling with injuries, and only the latter has been included in the Champions League squad for the Steaua clash.
In City’s pre-season friendlies, midfielder Fernando and left-back Aleksandar Kolarov have been shuffled into the heart of the defence, with Belgian youngster Jason Denayer, yet to make a senior appearance for City, Guardiola’s only other option.
Stones should solve those issues if he can continue his impressive development after emerging as one of England’s brightest young talents at Everton following a £3 million move from Barnsley in 2013.