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Former Gunner wants Arsenal to bolster defence by signing England centre-back

Arsenal icon Ray Parlour has urged his former club to take a punt on Manchester City defender John Stones this summer.

Stones arrived at the club just six months after Pep Guardiola’s appointment four years ago but the 26-year-old has badly struggled to live up to his £47.5m price tag and dropped down the pecking order at the club.

The out-of-favour defender made just 12 starts across his side’s Premier League campaign, with Guardiola preferring to field Fernandinho and Eric Garcia at centre-back, and there’s increasing speculation the star could be set for the exit door over the coming weeks.

Reports of a deal between Bournemouth and City for Nathan Ake have cast further doubt over John’s future and West Ham United have been keeping close tabs on the situation.

He believes Stones would be an ‘absolutely brilliant deal’ for the club but has encouraged the Gunners to compete with their London rivals for the Englishman.

‘That would be a great deal for West Ham if they can get him for £20m, especially when you look at Ake who is going to City for £40m,’ the former Gunner said on talkSPORT.

‘Arsenal are desperate for a centre-half… why don’t you take your chance and try and go in and bid for Stones? He’s had a bad time in recent years and he hasn’t really gone to where they thought he might go to.

‘But you don’t become a bad defender overnight, he just needs that bit of coaching. And that’s where it could be key with Arsenal because obviously Arteta has worked with him over the last few years at Man City. But if West Ham could get him for that price it would be a great deal, an absolutely brilliant deal.’