Wednesday 21 February 2018

Chelsea must raise offer for John Stones after £20m bid rejected by Everton

Everton insist John Stones is not for sale.
Everton insist John Stones is not for sale.

Chris Bascombe

Everton are determined to resist Chelsea’s efforts to sign John Stones after a £20million bid for the England defender was turned down.

Chelsea - who have been quiet in the transfer market this summer - are sure to return with an improved offer, but the Merseyside club are adamant Stones will not be allowed to leave in this transfer window.

Everton are not under any financial pressure to sell – a situation that has not always seemed the case at Goodison when star players have been sacrificed to raise funds – and manager Roberto Martinez believes Stones is happy at the club.

There is certainly no indication from the 21-year-old he is seeking a move to Stamford Bridge.

Speaking in Singapore, where Everton are currently playing in the Asia trophy, Stones said: “I am very happy at Everton. My aim right now is try and nail down a regular spot in the Everton team and hopefully that will take care of playing for England.

"I have to keep learning from the likes of Phil Jagielka and keep progressing at the club.”

Given Stones’ potential, a £20million bid was always going to be instantly dismissed, so Chelsea will be considering how much it will take to force the Goodison board to reconsider their stance.

They will find little encouragement at Goodison Park, however. The Everton position at this stage is emphatic that there are no circumstances in which Stones will be sold in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Martinez has promised to build his Everton team around midfielder James McCarthy amid interest from Manchester City and Tottenham.

Everton paid £13million for McCarthy two years ago and he also played previously under Martinez at Wigan Athletic, with the club now adamant that he will not be allowed to leave this summer.

“James McCarthy is a story we keep hearing,” said Martinez. “I can only guess where it’s coming from. Whoever it is must have their reason. James McCarthy is a phenomenal asset. We spent a huge amount of money, we are building a team around him, he has a long contract and there is not a single issue.

"For every Evertonian’s peace of mind, James McCarthy is at Everton, he’s an enormous asset and we’re going to build the future around hm.”

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