John Stones setback proves Man City were right to break transfer stance – Manchester Evening News

John Stones’ first-half exit in England’s draw with Germany will be a concern for Pep Guardiola but not as much as it might have once been.

The centre-half hobbled off after 36 minutes holding his leg in what looks to be another disappointing setback for the 28-year-old. The nature or severity of his injury has not yet been confirmed, and might not be until he gets back to Manchester City, but it’s not the first time the champions have been braced for his unavailability.

The defender had hamstring trouble back in May during City’s title run-in and was out for a number of weeks. He’s had various stints on the sidelines previous to that too.

READ MORE: Man City suffer John Stones injury blow before derby showdown

The timing for this latest potential blow is poor with Manchester United awaiting them in Sunday’s derby. But Guardiola still might be feeling slightly different on this occasion than previous instances.

Manuel Akanji has been a rock at the back since his deadline day arrival. The centre-half has played the entirety of all three games he has been available for, conceding just once.

Meanwhile, Stones has been playing at right-back in recent City matches while Kyle Walker nursed an injury of his own. His teammate is now back from his knock which will relieve Guardiola.

He brought in Sergio Gomez for such a scenario but he has preferred to leave natural right-back Joao Cancelo on the left instead of switching him over and allowing the summer signing to come into the fold.

City weren’t supposed to bring in any more recruits after Gomez’s arrival. Speaking two weeks before deadline day, Guardiola revealed the line he had been given from his overheads.

Asked if he would be done with arranging new signings after Gomez, he said: “Apparently yes. But if someone moves or there is a problem we don’t expect maybe it happens, but apparently it is done.”

Nobody did leave within those two weeks but injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias, as well as groin concerns over Nathan Ake, caused City to reconsider – it was the problem they ‘didn’t expect’, although maybe that was slightly naive given last season’s defensive injury crisis.

Either way, Akanji was brought in from Borussia Dortmund for a snip at £15m. It now looks as though he will be playing a pivotal role for his new club this season, and Stones’ latest leg problem only fuels that likelihood. Their call to dip into the market one last time was an important one.


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