Not for the first time this season, rumours abound about where John Stones will be playing football next season.
It’ll be for one of the Manchester clubs if this morning’s papers are to be believed, with United and City set to squabble about who gets to pay £40m for Everton’s third-choice centre-back.
After forcing him to stay then seeing his standards catastrophically drop, the Toffees surely won’t be so foolish as to stand in Stones’ way should the pair make offers as sizeable as those being mooted, but why would they want to pay that calibre of price when they could sign Ramiro Funes Mori for a fraction of the figure.
The Argentine’s exemplary acclimatisation to English football enabled Roberto Martinez to bench the substandard Stones at the turn of the year and Everton were much better off for it.
Staggeringly, the Merseysiders have won just 25% of the fixtures Stones has started this season, with the Boxing Day triumph at Newcastle United the last he tasted in the Premier League.
By contrast, the Toffees have triumphed in 73% of the matches where the former Barnsley star has been shelved.
Their loss percentage with Funes Mori in the ranks stands at 23%, while 45% of the fixtures he has started have ended victoriously.
The latter figures climb to 60% when the 25-year-old has been paired with Phil Jagielka at the heart of defence.
Looking at performance statistics, Funes Mori averages eight clearances per match compared to Stones’ 4.1, 2.5 interceptions compared to 1.6 and 2.8 aerial duels won compared to 1.6.
Feted for his footwork, Stones’ pass accuracy of 89% had to be superior to Funes Mori’s 85%, but in terms of whose the better defender, these numbers favour the Argentine.
However, owing to the fact he isn’t English and, at 25, is no longer considered a youngster, he’d cost significantly less than the £40m his Everton counterpart is allegedly valued at.