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The Pep Guardiola sign that backs up Man City transfer stance on John Stones after Arsenal report

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A report that John Stones could be on his way to Arsenal was met with the same reaction as when it happened with Raheem Sterling in the 2017 summer transfer window.

But he can take confidence into those challenges off the back of both the knocking back of the Arsenal transfer report and the way he has been treated when he has been available.

Going more than two months without getting injured so that he can become more than just a league specialist, and keeping his place for Premier League games when Aymeric Laporte returns to add further competition for places, are two significant hurdles that lie ahead for Stones.

Just as Sterling hadn't quite done enough to be seen as imperative to Pep Guardiola's plans after two years at the Etihad, so Stones is still to convince he can be the player many expected to become.

The England international may have only started nine of City's 22 league games, but he has not been fit enough to make the squad in half of them.

Stones played in five consecutive league games between the end of October and December but missed another month after picking up an injury in the derby before his latest return at Aston Villa.

Any suggestion of it happening was firmly knocked back by Manchester City, but considered by just about everyone else.
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