WHEN David Moyes leads Sunderland into an opening day battle at well-fancied Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium later today, he will come up against, arguably, his greatest success story on the transfer front even if he wasn’t around to complete it.

When John Stones makes his Premier League bow for City, Moyes wants supporters of the Black Cats to imagine what his intentions are for the Wearside club over the next few years.

Moyes was responsible for signing the 22-year-old defender from Barnsley three-and-a-half years ago when he was Everton manager for a seven-figure fee that now seems a snip bearing in mind how Manchester City have just paid £47.75m for him.

The Sunderland boss, and the recruitment team he had with him at the time, have taken satisfaction from the development of Stones having spotted him during his teenage years. That burgeoning talent has since turned into a success and is exactly what he would like to do during his time on Wearside.

“I signed John for £1.5m and £1.5m in add-ons. People say different things but that’s the (deal),” said Moyes. “It’s a bit like what I have to try to do here, and people need to see that I’m trying in a way to get similar situations.

“John Stones came as a really technically-gifted footballer. It wasn’t taught, it was natural. He had to strengthen up, he had to get used to Premier League football. But he’s a really good boy, he’s a classy player, a classy boy as well, I’ve got to say, and I wish him well.

“It’s a big, big fee for a boy who they signed from Barnsley for a few million quid. So there’s part of me saying ‘Some of the young boys I’ve got, I’ve got to tell the Sunderland supporters that this might be what we do’.

“We have to try to develop to get the club where we can start getting more in, we can compete and move on. It’s part of the development of a club which is at the bottom. Sometimes you’re going to have to lose your top players to bring in more, then you might have to do another lot.

“I think to actually bring yourself up, it needs a layer, then maybe another layer and another layer. I don’t think you go from that layer to that layer right away without a few changes.”

Moyes has only been in the manager’s office at the Academy of Light for a few weeks and already there are examples of him looking in that direction. Paddy McNair, Donald Love and, yesterday on loan, Adnan Januzaj have arrived on Wearside aged 21 and with bags of potential.

He hopes to bring more young players in before the transfer window closes on September 1, even if he is also looking at adding Premier League experience too.

Moyes, weighing up whether to sell Lamine Kone to Everton for around £21m, said: “I hope my team will be different when the transfer window closes. But the team at Manchester City will include some of the new players and some of them will be very young.

“The boys who have come from Manchester United have followed a path, people like Danny Simpson, Phil Bardsley, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans came on loan, Fraizer Campbell, Danny Welbeck. Very few of those boys weren’t a success here. Welbeck won player of the year. They’ve tended to do well.

“I’ve followed a little bit of that and I’d like to bring a bit of Britishness back to the club if I can. Not all the players I’ve got in are British but if I could go a little bit that way I would try and do so.”

Sunderland’s midfield already has problems before a ball has been kicked. Swede Seb Larsson has been ruled out for six months after knee surgery, while Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff have both been ruled out of the opener.

Moyes, still hopeful of tying up a deal for Yann M’Vila despite a delay, said: “At the moment we are really incredibly short. Paddy McNair is a central midfield player, he’s not a central defender. In time that will be the ideal position for Paddy unless we see something else and we go on.

“But we’re very short so people like Jack Rodwell, Paddy McNair, John O’Shea, may need to help fill in. The young boy Lynden Gooch … that’s where we are at the moment. We have very few midfield players. That’s where my next focus will have to go.”