Barca go cold on Stones

Barcelona have turned their attention away from Everton’s John Stones after his recent slump in form led them to pursue other targets.

Everton: Barca go cold on StonesEverton: Barca go cold on Stones

Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo claim Athletic Bilbao’s 21-year-old centre-back Aymeric Laporte and Paris Saint-Germain starlet Marquinhos remain on the Nou Camp club’s list, but Stones is “no longer an option”.

The England international has been criticised for over-playing at the back for the Toffees this season amid speculation that he could be heading for a big-money move to Spain.

Everton conceded 29 goals in the 21 Premier League matches that Stones started prior to him picking up an injury at the end of January after which their defensive record quickly improved.

Roberto Martinez’s men conceded one goal in the five league and cup matches Stones missed during his lay-off and were on course for another clean sheet against Aston Villa on Tuesday before his re-introduction to the first-team as a substitute.

However, Stones was beaten in the air by Rudy Gestede for Villa’s late consolation goal in the 3-1 victory.

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