Chelsea are upping the ante in their bid to sign highly-rated Everton centre-back John Stones. After a £20 million bid was rejected yesterday, the Blues are expected to come back with a better offer, reportedly worth £26 million. But even that may not be enough for the Toffees to sell.
According to this report in The Times today, Everton will not let Stones leave this summer. They put him in the same category as Raheem Sterling, according to the story, which means that something in the region of £40-£50 million would be needed to force them to sell. Sterling, of course, was bought by Manchester City for £49 million from Liverpool, after a long-lasting transfer saga.
Stones is one of the brightest young prospects in English football, and Everton see him as a future captain at Goodison Park. The 21 year-old has already broken into the first team, forming a solid partnership with the current captain, Phil Jagielka. In all, he has made 54 appearances in all competitions for Everton in the last two years.
Should Chelsea spend big on Stones?
Chelsea are really intent on bringing Stones to the club, but spending £50 million on a centre-half may be a bit too much. They have some very talented defenders themselves at the club in Andreas Christensen, Tomas Kalas and Kurt Zouma.
But, it looks like Jose Mourinho has identified Stones as the ideal successor to John Terry, who is approaching the final years of his career. The 34 year-old has been Chelsea’s captain since 2004, and it is common knowledge that Mourinho likes to have an influential figure in the dressing room calling the shots. Stones may be young, but he has shown some great leadership qualities already.
The former Barnsley man has already broken into the English national side, earning 4 caps thus far. He seems intent on continuing his progress at Everton though, stating that he is very happy on Merseyside.
“I am very happy to be at Everton for the future,” Stones said. “My aim right now is to try and nail down a regular spot in this 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 this club.”
But, it will be difficult for a player who earns £30,000 per week to say no if the Premier League champions come up with an offer that sees him earning thrice or four times that amount. Also, the opportunity to learn from Terry and Gary Cahill is one every young centre-back would dream of having.
Along with Chelsea, the two Manchester clubs are also interested in Stones. United are desperately looking for a central defender to shore up their shoddy defence from last season. City too had a leaky backline last year, with Eliaquim Mangala struggling to adapt to the Premier League and Vincent Kompany under-performing as well.