But now the fickle finger of fate has pointed him in the direction of Manchester City and the centre-back believes his £47.5m switch to The Etihad is a “blessing in disguise”.
Stones, 22, is delighted to be at a club where he can be a serial winner and in Pep Guardiola he is working with a boss he regards as the best manager in the world.
The heartache of 12 months ago, when Jose Mourinho tried three times to lure him to Stamford Bridge, is still raw for the young defender though, with Everton digging their heels in when he handed in a transfer request.
To his credit, Stones buckled down and committed himself to the Everton cause before it was finally decided he would leave Goodison after three-and-a-half years and 95 appearances.
And now, the future could not be brighter for the England international as he settles into his role as City’s cool, ball-playing defender under close scrutiny from Guardiola.
Stones, who is likely to take his place at the heart of City’s defence at home to West Ham today, said: “It is difficult when there is a lot of speculation, a lot of things happening in your personal life.