Mourinho eyes £34m Stones
Chelsea remain confident of signing John Stones from Everton, but may need to pay as much as £34m for the central defender.
They will not be put off by the expected rejection of a second bid of around £26m and Everton's insistence that Stones is not for sale.
Jose Mourinho sees him as the perfect successor to captain John Terry and wants to make the 21-year-old his big summer signing.
Even though Everton wrote to Chelsea to say the England international was not on the market, the Blues still believe there is a deal to be done during this transfer window.
Mourinho is prepared to recommend that Chelsea eventually structure a deal that could be worth up to £34m to secure Stones.
The player could more than triple his Everton wages of £30,000 a week, and a key factor is that Chelsea can provide a clear career path for him. Even with Terry and Gary Cahill ahead of him, Stones could be confident of making 30 appearances next season before stepping into Terry's boots.
While the fee may seem expensive, Mourinho believes that it would be a vital long-term investment.
The London club have cash to spare and, even factoring in Stones, are on course for a much smaller total summer outlay than rivals Manchester City and United.
Chelsea were willing to let Patrick Bamford move to Everton on loan, which could have smoothed their move for Stones, but Crystal Palace believe they have secured the striker's services.