Chelsea to raise bid to £33m as Stones submits transfer request
Chelsea are expected to submit a new bid of £33m in an attempt to finally sign John Stones after the Everton defender submitted a formal transfer request.
Everton insist that Stones (21) is not for sale but there is a growing expectation that if Chelsea were to then increase their offer further to £35m - which they may be prepared to do - the Premier League champions might finally sign him.
Chelsea have had three offers, of £20m, £26m and £30m, rejected. Now, as expected, Stones has made public his desire to go by handing in a written transfer request yesterday afternoon before training. He informed Everton of his desire to join Chelsea, which is the signal for which Jose Mourinho has been waiting.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has stated that a transfer request would have no effect on his club's position but Chelsea are expected to test that resolve by submitting an improved bid in the next few days.
If Chelsea get their man they will have to pay a record fee for an English defender, whether a £33m bid is accepted or they eventually have to pay £35m before the transfer window closes at 6pm next Tuesday. The record stands at the £29.1m Manchester United paid Leeds for Rio Ferdinand in 2002.
Mourinho is convinced that Stones would make an immediate impact if he were to move, with centre-halves John Terry and Gary Cahill both having struggled in the opening three games of the season.
Terry was sent off in the 3-2 win at West Brom on Sunday having been substituted in the 3-0 defeat by Manchester City the previous week. Cahill was on the bench at the Hawthorns.
Everton play Stones' former club Barnsley at Oakwell in the League Cup second round tonight and it remains to be seen whether he will be involved. Last night Everton were yet to respond to the transfer request, though it is anticipated that it will be rejected.
Despite the ongoing speculation Stones produced a solid performance in Everton's 2-0 home defeat by City on Sunday and has been praised by Martinez for his professionalism.
Martinez also insisted that the defender would be part of Everton's future but Stones has taken action as he prepares to leave after two and a half years.
Chelsea's pursuit of Stones began in July and has led to a fractious relationship between the two clubs.
Blues manager Jose Mourinho was asked about his interest in Stones last week and said: "Let's see what happens. I don't speak about players from other clubs when the championship has started.
"People used to call it the transfer window. I call it the opportunity window. While the window is open, there is always an opportunity."
There had been claims that Chelsea might turn to Zenit St Petersburg defender Ezequiel Garay if their pursuit of Stones failed. But the Russian club insist that Garay is not for sale at any price and there has been no contact from Chelsea.
However, they also know that he is represented by super-agent Jorge Mendes, whose other clients include Mourinho along with the strikers Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa.
Garay (28) is an experienced Argentina international who is central to the plans of Andre Villas-Boas, the former Chelsea manager who is now head coach of Zenit.
The number of foreign players allowed in the Russian Premier League has been reduced, which is why Zenit had to offload Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon to West Brom. But Zenit do not want to sell Garay.
Meanwhile, Chelsea winger Marko Marin has had his medical at Trabzonspor ahead of his proposed move to the Turkish club.
Two other wingers at the club are set to be loaned out: Juan Cuadrado will join Juventus while West Ham are continuing discussions over Victor Moses joining them on loan with a view to a £6m transfer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)