John Stones has been told there is “no point” in him sticking around at Manchester City, with Micah Richards urging the England international defender to consider moves to Arsenal or Everton.
The 26-year-old centre-half has seen a switch away from the Etihad Stadium mooted and that is because he finds himself slipping down the pecking order under Pep Guardiola.
Stones found a regular role hard to come by in 2019-20, with Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho and 19-year-old Eric Garcia being selected ahead of him in defensive berths.
City have gone on to invest £40 million ($51m) in Nathan Ake during the current transfer window, with there the promise of more additions to come – amid links to the likes of Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.
With that in mind, and with the likes of Arsenal and Everton reportedly being open to doing a deal, Richards feels the time has come for Stones to sever ties with City.
The former Blues defender told The Mirror: “When a manager loses faith in you it’s very hard to get that back.
“I remember pulling my hamstring against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“I could just see in Manuel Pellegrini’s face that he’d lost faith in me in terms of ‘I can’t count on you to perform as I want you to perform without getting injured anymore’.
“And for me, when Stones is fit and he’s playing Eric Garcia, a 19-year-old boy ahead of you in one of the biggest games of the season, it looks like the writing is on the wall.
“It’s very, very hard to come back from that. When Pep’s made his mind up with Yaya Toure or Joe Hart or Leroy Sane, it doesn’t look like there’s any coming back from that.
“There’s no point in staying at City at the bench - that’s not going to do anything for him.
“I don’t think Everton is a bad move. People will say that’s going backwards but he’s loved by the fans, he’s got a great manager in Carlo Ancelotti to work under.
“Arsenal, he’s worked with Mikel Arteta at City and he likes ball players.
“John Stones will have options no matter what because of his quality and age but if 19 year olds are playing ahead of you, you have to be looking at leaving.”