Joey Barton believes John Stones should leave Everton if Manchester United or Barcelona table an offer for him.
Stones, who joined Everton in 2013, is widely considered to be one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League right now.
Man United, Barcelona and Chelsea are all said to be interested in the youngster but Chelsea reportedly had a £30m offer for Stones rejected in the summer. Former Newcastle United midfielder Barton insisted Stones needs to develop at an elite club.
“It’s only a matter of time when Stones goes. It might be Barcelona next transfer window after the Euros,” Barton said.
“At some stage you need to go and develop. If Barcelona come in for you – I am an Evertonian, I love Everton – and you are a young player, you have to go and test yourself at that level. You can’t knock the lad for doing it. If Manchester United come in for you, you have to go.”
Stones is already an excellent player and he can only get better as his career develops.
Louis van Gaal has brought in the likes of Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay during his time in charge at Old Trafford and Stones would fit the profile of a young, up and coming prospect. If Stones does come to United, the hope is that he would establish a solid partnership with Chris Smalling for years to come.