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Everton legend tips John Stones to become regular in Chelsea first-team if he leaves Goodison Park

Everton legend Andy Gray has backed highly-rated defender John Stones to force his way into the Chelsea starting XI, if he completes a transfer to the reigning Premier League champions this summer.

The 21-year-old’s future on Merseyside looks doubtful after he handed in a transfer request on Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to force a move away from Goodison Park before the window closes next week.

Stones has been heavily linked with signing for the West London outfit all summer and the Blues have already seen three bids for the England international rejected by the Toffees, who are adamant they won’t be cashing in on the player.

It’s understood that Chelsea are confident of agreeing a deal with their league rivals for a fee in the region of £40million and Gray whilst says he would like to see Stones stay at the club, he recognizes the lure of Champions League football is tough to turn down for the youngster:

“It’s tough. As an Evertonian, I obviously don’t want him to go, I’d rather he stayed at Everton for another couple of years,” the commentator said on talkSPORT.

“But now with the transfer request, all that does is just tell everybody that he would like Everton to take the offer, if it’s acceptable, and he would like to move on.”

“Of course I would like him to stay, but I really do understand that the young lad has an opportunity to play for Chelsea.”

“But I don’t agree that he might spend the next two years on the bench, I don’t think that will happen. I think he’s good enough to force his way into that team sooner rather than later,” Gray added.

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