Pep Guardiola has been boosted by the news at Manchester City this week that John Stones has committed to a new contract at the Etihad Stadium, which should keep him at the club until 2026.
What’s the word?
Manchester City confirmed on their website on Tuesday morning that the centre-back has committed his long-term future to the Premier League champions, earning a well-deserved new deal after his superb performances for club and country last season.
After it was confirmed, Director of Football Txiki Begiristain shared his delight that Stones had signed an extension, saying: “This is great news for our club.
“John is an exceptional footballer and a fantastic defender, whose attributes are well suited to our style of play.
“We knew when we signed him that we were getting a talented centre-back, but he has really matured in his five years here and, as we saw last season, is at the top of his game right now.
“John has been an important part of our recent success and we believe he can continue to help us achieve our goals, so for him to commit his best years to us is a major boost for the club.”
A huge boost for Guardiola?
Stones has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in the past year, as last summer it seemed as if he could be forced out at Manchester City following the arrivals of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake, with the Portuguese defender tipped to partner Aymeric Laporte at the back.
However, the former Everton man played superbly when given the chance by Guardiola and quickly formed a formidable partnership with Dias in the heart of City’s defence, which was key in their Premier League title success, as well as their run to the Champions League final.
He was also key to England reaching the Euro 2020 final earlier this summer, with Gareth Southgate’s side conceding just two goals across the tournament, so it was perhaps always likely that he would be offered a new deal at the Etihad, given that his previous contract was set to expire in 2022.
If Stones and Dias can retain their form at the back for City in the 2021/22 season, then there seems little reason to suggest that Guardiola’s side can’t retain their Premier League title, and City fans will undoubtedly be delighted that one of their top performers from the 2020/21 campaign is here to stay.