Mikel Arteta has revealed Arsenal won’t be signing Manchester City defender John Stones and pushing David Luiz into midfield, despite calls from former player Ray Parlour.
The Gunners are currently languishing in 10th place in the Premier League table and have kept just four clean sheets from 22 games so far, conceding 31 goals during that time.
Could Stones leave Man City? Five things to know…
- Stones joined Man City from Everton for £47.5m in 2016.
- Since then, he’s made over 100 appearances for the club, winning two Premier League titles.
- However, despite City’s shortage of centre-backs, Stones has started just nine league games this term.
- His lack of playing time has seen him linked with a move away from the Etihad.
- Parlour believes the England international would be a great solution to Arsenal’s defensive problems, but Arteta has since ruled out a move.
Despite the summer departure of Vincent Kompany and an injury to Aymeric Laporte, Pep Guardiola has been reluctant to partner Stones and Nicolas Otamendi together, instead using midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri as makeshift defenders.
As a result, Stones has started just nine Premier League games this season and, as such, Parlour believes the 25-year-old could offer a solution to Arsenal’s own issues in central defence.
“I’d be very, very happy if they brought someone like John Stones to the club,” he told talkSPORT.
“He would definitely play. With Calum Chambers out and Rob Holding in the background, if one of [David] Luiz or Sokratis get injured Arsenal have not got a lot of back-up at centre-half.
“Would Luiz and Stones work together? Well, they have got Sokratis… Stones could play alongside him. He’s the better defender.”
Parlour also believes Stones’ arrival would allow Arteta to move Luiz into midfield should he struggle in that department, allowing the Brazilian to tap into his wide passing range and technical skills.
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“Luiz has done alright in recent weeks. He has done better. He does make a mistake, and we’ve seen that this season, but I think he’s done well,” Parlour added.
“I think, if you are really struggling in midfield, you could play Luiz as a holding midfielder.
“He can play there because he’s got that range of passing and he is very good on the ball, he is technically very good.
“So they could play Stones and Sokratis at the back with Luiz in front of them, that could work.”
Despite purported interest from the Gunners, Arteta – who worked alongside Stones during his coaching role at City – has since downplayed any chances of the north London club bringing in the England international.
He told reporters: “[There is] No truth in John Stones. No truth in Frank Kessie.
“John is a player I really like. When I look at centre-backs he’s got many attributes I like but I’m not looking at him.”
Who else could Arteta look to bring in this January?
- Jonny Evans is 10/1 to join Arsenal before February 2020 according to William Hill*. Brendan Rodgers will be reluctant to see Evans leave the King Power, but he has been linked with moves to Arsenal and Man City.
- Dries Mertens is 7/2 to join Arsenal before February 2020. The 32-year-old will see his current contract with Napoli expire in the summer, but Arsenal are thought to be weighing up an offer this month.
- Ivan Rakitic is 12/1 to join Arsenal before February 2020. The Barcelona midfielder’s present deal runs out in June 2021, and he’s only made a handful of starts this season.
- Thomas Meunier is 5/1 to join Arsenal before February 2020. With injury issues continuing to haunt Hector Bellerin, Arteta may be tempted to bring in right-back competitive this month.