Everton reject Chelsea’s €37m bid as Manchester United target John Stones

In demand defender seen by Jose Mourinho as long-term replacement for John Terry

Chelsea have had a second offer of €37 million for John Stones turned down by Everton, while Manchester United have also made known their interest in the defender.

United have contacted intermediaries working on Stones’s behalf to make him aware that they would welcome him at Old Trafford but they have not yet made a formal approach to Everton and it is Chelsea who are at the front of the queue for his signature.

Jose Mourinho sees the 21-year-old as a potential long-term successor to John Terry and, although the Chelsea captain remains integral to the club's starting XI, there is the acknowledgement at Stamford Bridge that now is the time to test Everton's resolve. Were Chelsea to wait for another season, Stones's price would surely rise.

As it is, Everton will refuse to sell him for less than €43 million, which would represent quite a mark-up – they signed him for €3.7 million from Barnsley in January 2013. Everton rejected Chelsea’s opening bid of €28.5 million last week and they gave short shrift to Tuesday’s follow-up.

Chelsea's pursuit of the player and how Mourinho was happy to talk about it last week during the club's tour of the United States have annoyed Roberto Martinez; the Everton manager wants to buy a centre half not sell one, having released Sylvain Distin. Martinez has said that he is under no pressure to sell players, though Tottenham Hotspur are considering an offer for Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy.

Stones has four years to run on his contract and has said in public that he is happy at the club. Chelsea and United, however, could offer him Champions League football.

Stones, who has four England caps, would be considered as homegrown in terms of the Premier League and Champions League, which would be a boon to Chelsea, and allow them to add to their options. He would also provide cover at right back for Branislav Ivanovic.

Mourinho, who has been relatively quiet so far this summer in terms of senior additions, having signed only Radamel Falcao on loan and Asmir Begovic, recognises that the market for young, English talent remains inflated. The Chelsea manager said last week: “It is the market and you only pay it if you want it. If you don’t want to pay it, don’t pay. It’s as simple as that. The market has no rules or limits from season to season.”

(Guardian service)

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