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Stones steps into the shoes of Man City cult hero Zabaleta by inheriting number five shirt

Goal.com logo Goal.com 30-05-2017

With Pablo Zabaleta having left Manchester City as a free agent, his number five jersey has been passed to John Stones.

Zabaleta, a cult hero at the Etihad Stadium, has moved on to West Ham after reaching the end of his contract.

City chairman hopes for Yaya stay

Pep Guardiola is looking to freshen up his ageing ranks, with 23-year-old Stones very much part of a long-term project.

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He is yet to justify a £47.5 million price tag, with accusations still levelled at him of over-playing, but the England international will be hoping a change in number brings with it a reversal in fortune.

Johnny 5! A new number for @johnstonesofficial! #mcfc #mancity #manchestercity

A post shared by Manchester City (@mancity) on May 30, 2017 at 12:48pm PDT

Stones was handed the number 24 jersey upon his arrival at City from Everton.

He made 41 appearances over the course of his debut campaign, scoring two goals.

Aguero exit ruled out by City chairman

City, though, were to end the season empty-handed, with Champions League qualification through a third-place finish in the Premier League their only consolation.

Both the club and Stones will be hoping to kick-on in 2017-18, with Guardiola having already opened what is expected to be an elaborate spending spree by snapping up £43m midfielder Bernardo Silva and closing in on a £35m deal for Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson.

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