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Neville Southall: Everton shouldn’t sell Stones to Chelsea for any price if the club has any ambition

If we can keep Stones and Barkley has the season he's capable of then Everton could beat the top teams and become a Top 4 side. Starting with Man City on Sunday.

by Neville Southall | August 20, 2015

Everton should never sell John Stones. At any price. I’ve been out a lot with a lot of disgruntled fans and if the club says they’re selling him to Chelsea, then they’re effectively saying ‘we don’t listen to you and we don’t care about you.’

The message it gives to the fans ‘sorry we’re not building a team for the future, we’re just sell our best players as soon as we get a good offer.’ Who do we replace him with? There’s no one as good as him, at his age, who’s going to be an England regular and who’s going to get better and better. Common sense says we don’t sell him.

Money can’t buy what this club needs. This club needs to show ambition and that it’s not a selling club. If they keep selling players it shows that we’re happy to be constantly mid-table with no aspirations for anything more. It could be a different story if there was better communication between the board and the fans, but there’s none. No one knows if there’s money in the club or not. We don’t know if we can shop in Aldi or in Harrods.

Even with the money, who can replace Stones? Johnny Evans is being talked about, but he’s not as good as John Stones. Why would you settle for second best? If they sell him it sends out the wrong signals. It would have an effect on the team. How can they attract top quality players if they keep selling their best players. Life will go on like it did after Rooney left, but £50 million is nothing to have compared to what you’ll lose.

When Rooney left it was because he wanted to leave. Stones has never said that he wants to leave and he’s a different type of person to Wayne Rooney. We have a good base of a team and if we add to it, we’ll have a decent season. If we don’t, we’ll still have a half decent season, but all the fans are looking for ambition and the board aren’t relaying it.

We have a decent squad at the moment, but we need to add at least one more striker, another centre back after Distin left and probably a wideman. Deulofeu is alright, but he’s still untested in the Premier League in a way. In spells he was great, but his work-rate was shocking – nowhere near what it should have been. If he learned off Messi when he went back to Barcelona then we might have a more consistent player on our hands, but we still need something. We need a left back after Baines’ injury. Ashley Cole is available and he has the know how after doing it all before.

Roberto Martinez isn’t under pressure at the moment. But if he fails to win something by the end of next season then he should be. This is how I break it down. Leicester won six games to keep themselves up at the end of last season. Six games wins you the F.A. Cup. The F.A. Cup is well within their reach if they all pull together and go the same way. If they finish outside the top six this season then the season is a failure. That’s how I see it.

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Everton haven’t got the best record against the top six or so teams, but if they can pick up two or three more wins a season against the top sides then they’ll really start challenging.  And they need to start consistently knocking off the West Broms and the West Hams of the league. In games like Everton v United the atmosphere takes care of itself. The players are motivated for those games. Teams lose the title against the smaller teams. They need to be knocking these teams over easily.

Everton’s aim and their ambition should be pointed towards the top four and winning the league. If the ambition is right and the philosophy is right and we’re all working towards the same thing we can. There’s a tendency for club’s like Everton to take the easy way out and say that a Top 10 finish is good enough because we don’t have enough money. Well someone has to buck that trend. Southampton did it really well last season, but there’s room for someone to break into that Top 4 or Top 6. With the squad we have, it can be us.

Ross Barkley

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There’s two players that I’m going to be watching this year. John Stones obviously if we keep him because he’s just going to keep getting better and better. I’m hoping Ross Barkley will have a good season. He’s learned from last season. He was poor last season. I hope it goes his way this year. He gets the crowd going.

Both players are going to be vital against Man City at the weekend. They’re world-class against a team with class all over the pitch. But I don’t see why we can’t win the game. We’ve been a bit of a bogey team for team over recent seasons and that was with weaker squads than what we have now. At home we need to have the confidence that we can beat the top sides. I’d be happy with a draw because City are flying, but I don’t see why we can’t nick it 1-0 with Barkley to grab the goal.

Neville’s tip:

Everton to win 1-0 with Barkley 1st Goalscorer – 100/1

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