Barca join United and Chelsea in Stones hunt
Barcelona scouts were detailed to watch England's friendly against Spain in Alicante last week and while there was intrigue over the possibility of seeing the Leicester City striker who is the Premier League's top goalscorer, it was John Stones they wanted to study against their nation's best players.
As it turned out, neither Jamie Vardy nor Stones played against Spain, but the central defender's display in Tuesday's victory over France will ensure Barcelona continue to monitor his progress.
Just days before facing England with Spain, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique named Stones as the only Englishman in his World XI.
Pique's high praise of "one of a new generation who understand football not just as a defender" is not seen as a coincidence. It is a technique of all of the world's top clubs to enlist players and staff to try to turn the heads of targets and Pique's words certainly served to highlight how highly thought of Stones is at the Nou Camp.
When Everton manager Roberto Martinez informed Stones, 21, that the club would not accept Chelsea's bid of well over £30million during the summer, he added that he would one day move somewhere better than Stamford Bridge.
United have long held an interest in Stones but decided against being drawn into a bidding war with Chelsea in the summer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)