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EVERTON bolstered their defensive options with a £3m deadline day move for promising England U19s defender John Stones – 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.
“What a good place for me to be at. Let’s see where it goes from here. It’s down to me. Now the hard work begins.”
While Moyes is understood to rate Stones as one for the future, he would also consider including the youngster in his first-team squad as much needed cover at right-back, with Seamus Coleman and Tony Hibbert currently injured.
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.
The 22-year-old Senegalese international joined Everton 2010 and has scored once in 24 appearances.
MERSEYSIDE has six representatives in the England squad for next Wednesday night's international friendly with Brazil at Wembley.
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Daniel Sturridge are joined by Everton trio Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka.
Skipper Gerrard will win his 101st cap, while Johnson could move on to 45 caps for his country and Sturridge in line for his fifth appearance.
Blues midfielder Osman retains his place in the squad after being handed his international debut in November.
Baines will be vying with Chelsea’s Ashley Cole for the left-back slot, while Jagielka will be hoping to start in the centre of defence.
Everton have signed defender John Stones from Barnsley on a five-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Sportsmail revealed last month that relegation-threatened Wigan had joined Chelsea, Aston Villa Sunderland, Manchester City and Everton in the race for the £3million-rated prospect.
Stones is one of the most coveted young defenders in the country and is a real coup for manager David Moyes.
He told Everton's official website: 'I am very excited to be joining Everton. I've been very impressed with everything I have seen at Finch Farm already. Now the hard work begins.'
The 6ft 2in England Under 19 international made his Tykes debut last March after progressing through the youth ranks at Oakwell.
He featured 28 times for the npower Championship club, netting his first goal in the 4-3 Capital One Cup triumph over Rochdale in August.
Stones added: 'I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everybody at Barnsley for helping me in my development.
'They include Ronnie Branson and all the academy staff; Keith Hill and David Flitcroft for giving me the chance to play first-team football. Also all the backroom staff such as Guy Proctor, John Lucas and Craig Sedgwick.
'They are just some of the people who I owe a debt of gratitude to and I wish Barnsley every success for the future.'
Meanwhile, Everton midfielder Magaye Gueye has joined Ligue 1 club Brest on loan until the end of the season.
The 22-year-old, a former France Under-21 international, was given the all clear to switch to the French club following an approach before the transfer deadline.
Gueye, who moved to Goodison Park from Strasbourg in June 2010, has made just six appearances for the Toffees this season.
Brest are currently only four points above the Ligue 1 relegation zone.
Leighton Baines is refusing to consider claims he is ready to dislodge Ashley Cole from England’s team as he feels his own place in the squad is under threat.
The Everton left back has been one of the most consistent performers in the Barclays Premier League this season and took his goal tally up to six with a double in Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over West Brom.
Baines was named in Roy Hodgson’s 25-man squad on Friday for the friendly against Brazil next Wednesday and there could be no complaints if Hodgson elected to start with him rather than Cole, who is on the verge of winning his 100th cap.
But Baines remains completely respectful of Cole, not to mention the younger brigade of left-backs – headed by Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs – who have emerged in recent months to stake their own claims for inclusion.
‘I’m doing what I can my end to get into the England team but the decision isn’ t mine,’ said Baines. ‘It’s with the manager. Myself and Ash are regulars in the squad, but there’s also Ryan Bertrand, Kieran Gibbs has had a great season and Luke Shaw at Southampton is going to be a fine player.
‘The good thing for England is that there are a number of options. If it’s ever been a problem in the past, when there has only been one strong option, I don’t think that’s the case anymore.’
Victory over West Brom on Wednesday propelled Everton on to the verge of a top four spot and they have a glorious chance to build on that, when they face struggling Aston Villa tomorrow at Goodison Park.
Everton will be long odds-on favourites to increase the pressure on Paul Lambert but, mindful that his side have struggled in such games in recent years, Baines has warned that it will be anything but a straightforward task.
Similar sentiments apply to them finishing in the top four. Though Everton’s form has been excellent for much of the year, their credentials will be fully tested in the coming months as they face away trips to Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
‘Villa might not be doing so well but you can’t underestimate anyone particularly in this league, as it has thrown up some strange results this season,’ said Baines. ‘Villa have been struggled for a little bit now, but we know they will be fighting and we’ll have to be on our game.
‘We have some big games away from home still to come, so these home games are the ones that we have got to be winning. We don’t want to be dropping points in home games because it will be put extra importance on the tough away games.
‘The onus is on us when we play at Goodison. From the kick-off, West Brom signalled their intent by sitting back behind the ball, and we have to find ways of scoring goals and winning games. We all want to get into the top four. In different weeks, different players will come to the fore.
‘That’s how it has been for us all season. On Wednesday I got a couple of goals, but the important thing is that somebody does it. In the main, we have done that.’
David Moyes' audacious attempt to sign Alvaro Negredo failed because Sevilla demanded £15million for the Spanish striker, writes David Anderson.
Negredo's agent Juanma Lopez said: "Sevilla simply didn't want to lose him."
Everton's chances of signing Seville forward Alvaro Negredo have failed after the player's agent claimed the deal was 'impossible'.
The two clubs were in discussion over the Spain international while Negredo was preparing for the Copa del Rey semi-final against Atletico Madrid.
David Moyes is desperate to bring in forward reinforcements to help the club's push for a Champions League finish but spending is restricted at Goodison Park.
Everton were recently forced to pull out of a deal for Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer after failing to agree on terms with FC Twente.
Negredo has been linked with several Premier League clubs including Tottenham and Chelsea.
However, the player's agent Juanma Lopez claims that there is no hope of signing Negredo as Sevilla are demanding a fee in the region of £15million, despite their financial difficulties.
‘It’s impossible,’ Lopez said. ‘Negredo is an important player for Sevilla and I am absolutely sure nothing will be done in this window.
‘I know they have spoken to Everton but there is no way it will happen. Unfortunately there is no chance because Sevilla simply don’t want to lose him and if they do they will ask for crazy money.’
Everton have signed Barnsley’s right-back John Stones, despite a £3million bid from Wigan.