Manchester City are prepared to reward John Stones’ recent run of good form with a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.
Stones was out of favour under Pep Guardiola last season and was widely expected to leave the club following the big-money arrivals of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake, but the Englishman has instead forced his way back into the starting lineup, forming a dominant partnership with Dias.
In his 13 Premier League starts this season – he only managed 12 last year – Stones has helped City keep ten clean sheets, and he even chimed in with two goals in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace back in January.
As it stands, Stones is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract at the end of the season, and The Times note that Guardiola has urged City to offer him fresh terms to keep him around for a little while longer.
Club officials were open to selling Stones last summer but have been incredibly impressed with his reaction to the new signings, and talks between the two are expected to be held at the end of the season.
City want to wait so as to avoid adding any potential distractions into the mix. Guardiola’s men are competing for four trophies and they want to make sure all their players are fully focused on the task at hand.
Speaking to Sky Sports after his goalscoring exploits against Palace, Stones confessed that he struggled to accept being out in the cold at City and admitted he worked tirelessly to try and get himself back into the fold.
“It’s always tough when you’re not playing and you don’t get a run of games – then when you do, you don’t perform to what you can do, because you maybe put too much pressure on yourself,” he said.
“I’ve said it to Micah Richards and to a lot of people that I went back to the basics and looked at myself first, looked at what I can improve on in every aspect.
“I’ve said to [Richards] a few times now – he’s been very open about himself as well, which is good – and I think players that have been in my position and for me personally to keep fighting and keep believing in myself is something first and foremost that needs to happen.
“You need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say ‘am I doing everything for myself and for the team?’
“I did that and kept working hard kept the faith and kept grinding away. And as I said, I kept trying to improve – and I still am now. I don’t think you’ll ever stop looking to improve on yourself. I’m just trying to do my best.”