EVERTON have signed England U19s defender John Stones for £3m – but failed to land the midfielder and striker David Moyes had targeted to boost his top four bid.
The Blues hijacked talks between Barnsley and Wigan Athletic to land the highly-rated 18-year-old right-back, who signed a five-and-a-half year contract at Goodison last night.
Stones came through the ranks at Oakwell before making his first-team debut in December 2011, and had been tracked by a number of Premier League clubs after impressing in the Championship.
The 6ft 2ins full-back has taken his tally of appearances for Barnsley to 28 this term, scoring his first goal in a 4-3 League Cup victory over Rochdale in August last year.
After agreeing personal terms, the Barnsley-born player said he had been impressed by his meeting with David Moyes after opting to join the Blues over Roberto Martinez’ relegation strugglers.
“I’m very happy,” he said.
“I was waiting for the call. It was Everton and Wigan who were in for me and we decided on Everton. It’s a great club with a great manager.
“I’ve met David Moyes. He’s a nice man and I’m looking forward to working with him. I can’t wait to come into training and go from there.
“It’s such a good club. I feel that I can learn from the manager and the players who are here. I will benefit from that.”
Although the Blues boss hoped Stones would be one of three new recruits yesterday, he ultimately failed in his ambitious bid to land Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo, who instead captained and scored for the Spanish club during their 2-1 defeat in the Copa Del Rey semi-final with Atletico Madrid last night.
It is believed Everton were unable to agree on a fee with the Andalusia side, who rated the Spain forward as worth up to 20m Euros, with the Blues hoping to capitalise on the fraught financial situation Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán by agreeing a £9m deal.
Rumours of a revived move to capture Dutch international Leroy Fer at the second attempt yesterday proved unfounded, while Everton decided against pursuing their interest in Real Betis striker Ruben Castro.
Meanwhile there was one deadline day exit from Goodison, as winger Magaye Gueye was allowed to join French club Brest on loan for the rest of the season.