The 21-year-old was very impressive for the Toffees last season, pushing Sylvain Distin out of the side and going on to be one of the few rays of light in a gloomy season. While the team struggled to finish 11th in the top flight, the centre-back played well enough to win his first start for the Three Lions against Norway in September.
This will surely be what drew the interest of Stamford Bridge boss Jose Mourinho, who will move for the youngster if he is unable to bring former charge Varane to the Premier League. The Goodison Park hierarchy have put a minimum asking price of £20 million on the defender though, and will be secure in the knowledge that he signed a new five-year contract with the club last summer, as the Daily Mail reported at the time.
Mourinho is thought to want more competition for the Blues’ first-choice pairing Gary Cahill and John Terry. 20-year-old Kurt Zouma is already with the squad and made 26 appearances as they won the Premier League and the Capital One Cup last time round, but he has also been used in midfield and could find his home there.
Meanwhile, it is arguable that Stones is a more accomplished player than the Frenchman, being far better with the ball at his feet than his counterpart, even if Zouma’s physical credentials are perhaps more impressive.
With Chelsea controlling most games that they play, a centre-back who can start attacks may be more useful than one who specialises in defending. Stones’s ability to play at right-back may also be a draw for Mourinho.