Chelsea have had a £20m bid for John Stones rejected by Everton.
According to Sky Sports, the Premier League champions offered the Toffees £20m for the centre-back’s signature; however, their opening bid has been rebuffed by the club.
The 21-year-old has made 82 appearances for the Merseyside outfit since joining from Barnsley in a £3m deal in 2013 [via BBC Sport], and has become a regular under Roberto Martinez.
Stones made 23 Premier League appearances last term, and made his first start for the senior England side in a friendly against Norway last September at Wembley Stadium [via Sky Sports].
Such is the esteem that Everton hold the defender under, the club awarded the Three Lions international the famous no.5 squad number last summer – formerly worn by Toffees legend Dave Watson [via Liverpool Echo].
Having put pen-to-paper on a new five-year deal last August [via The Guardian], manager Martinez may feel that the youngster is worthy of a much steeper price-tag, or perhaps may be keen for the player to continue his development at Goodison Park.
The report doesn’t state whether Jose Mourinho is expected to return with an improved offer.
With John Terry having reached the age of 34 – despite his outstanding performances in Chelsea’s 2014-15 title-winning campaign – the Portuguese manager may be considering long-term successors to the Blues captain.
Terry himself has previously revealed his admiration for Stones, describing the young defender as ‘exceptional’:
“I have seen a lot of games and I am a big fan of his. He pulls wide of the box and wants the ball and for a young defender to do that in the Premier League takes some guts,” as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
“He is exceptional with both feet, he is a ball-playing centre half which you need to be these days.
“He is extremely confident. He looks to play from the back and that can only be good for English football that the likes of him are coming through. He is definitely one I have been impressed by.”