ENGLAND defender John Stones has completed his move to Manchester City from Everton by signing a six-year deal at the Etihad Stadium.
The 22-year-old, who joined Everton from Barnsley in 2013 for £3million, has now left Merseyside for what the Toffees have called “a record transfer fee”.
Stones has already been included in City’s Champions League squad for next week’s play-off clash with Steaua Bucharest, and he told mancity.com: “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.”
“It’s an ambitious Club with a great manager so I can’t wait to get stuck in and help achieve the goals.
“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.”
Meanwhile in the City dressing room… pic.twitter.com/EyTMJdbEkH
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 9, 2016
The move for Stones adds to the recharged rivalry between the two Manchester clubs, with Paul Pogba also arriving across the city at United.
Pogba, 23, has signed a five-year contract with the option of a sixth season after United agreed to pay the Italian champions 105million euros (£89million) over the course of two years in a world transfer record.
That figure beats the estimated £85million that Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013 in the previous world-record deal.
Juventus revealed United could owe them a further five million euros (£4.25million) if certain sporting targets are reached during the course of Pogba’s contract.
Pogba left United four years ago for a nominal fee, and went on to win four Serie A titles and the Coppa Italia twice while his reputation grew – persuading Jose Mourinho to pay a colossal sum to bring him back to Old Trafford.
“I am delighted to rejoin United,” Pogba said. “It has always been a club with a special place in my heart and I am really looking forward to working with Jose Mourinho.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Juventus and have some fantastic memories of a great club with players that I count as friends.
“But I feel the time is right to go back to Old Trafford. I always enjoyed playing in front of the fans and can’t wait to make my contribution to the team. This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to in the game.”
Pogba’s move has been one of the most protracted transfers of the summer, and there was a final tease before confirmation finally came in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
First, United posted a video on Twitter of a hooded figure in a club training top with the message “Are you ready? #POGBACK”.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 8, 2016
Moments later, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola tweeted “THE MAN IS UNITED”.
And Pogba himself then followed up by bidding farewell to Juventus.
“Thanks Juventus and all Juventini. Goodbye means nothing, it is the time we spent together that matters” he wrote.
Only then did the official announcement come from the club.
But United and their fans will hope Pogba proves to be worth the wait.
“Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future,” Mourinho said once the deal was official.
“He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is.
“At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years. He is young and will continue to improve; he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”
Pogba had arrived in Manchester on Monday to finalise the deal, travelling to the club’s Aon Training Complex in Carrington in a red and black Chevrolet at lunchtime.
Pogba is Mourinho’s fourth signing of the summer, following Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitarayan and Eric Bailly, but the size of the fee paid makes this the biggest statement of intent yet from the club’s new manager.