Everton fears grow over John Stones as Chelsea bidding heads towards £30m mark
Everton are growing increasingly concerned that they will fail to stop John Stones joining Chelsea, despite manager Roberto Martinez’s insistence that the central defender is not for sale.
Chelsea are preparing a third bid of around £30 million for Stones, despite Martinez repeating his desire to keep the 21-year-old at Goodison Park.
While Martinez is demonstrating a brave front, Everton insiders fear that the club will ultimately be forced to let Stones move to Stamford Bridge once Chelsea go over the £30 million mark.
Everton are already closing in on one senior central defender to join the club, with Manchester United’s Jonny Evans, Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk and Swansea City’s Ashley Williams all among their targets.
It is also understood that Everton are looking at younger options, as they attempt to plan for the possibility of Stones leaving.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho last week refused to discuss his bid for Stones, despite previously expressing his admiration for the player. The Premier League champions have failed with offers of £20 million and £26 million, but remain hopeful a deal worth up to £34 million can be agreed.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport, talks are thought to have been held between Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and his Everton counterpart Bill Kenwright about avoiding any more public spats over the matter.
Rio Ferdinand has told Stones that he should join his former club Manchester United, but that will not have any bearing on the player or Chelsea’s bid.
Contrary to Ferdinand’s claim that Stones would spend his time sitting on the substitutes’ bench at Stamford Bridge, the Blues have a clear career plan for the England international.
Should they succeed in their bid, then Chelsea will give Stones encouragement that he would make at least 30 appearances this season with the view to eventually succeeding captain John Terry.
Chelsea have already displayed their faith in Stones by making him their one big transfer target of the summer and believe he could be a key player for the next decade.
While Chelsea continue to track Stones, they are also hoping to finalise a deal to sign Augsburg left-back Baba Rahman.
Rahman is keen to move to Stamford Bridge as soon as possible, with Chelsea just needing to agree a fee with Augsburg for the £12 million-rated 21-year-old.
Should the Rahman deal fall apart, then Tottenham Hotspur will reject any approach from Chelsea for Danny Rose.