John Stones, 22, has told Everton he wants to leave and handed in a fresh transfer request. A long-time target for Manchester City, the Toffees have reluctantly conceded defeat in keeping the player at Goodison Park but will only let him leave if their valuation of £50m is met.
The England defender is keen to stay in the North West but Chelsea are also interested in his services. The Blues had a bid of £36m rejected earlier in the summer and are thought to be ready to return if Everton are willing to sell.
Signed from Barnsley for £3m in 2013, Stones has quickly gained a reputation for assured passing. That ability has brought him to the attention of new City boss, Pep Guardiola, and Barcelona. A move to Spain seemed inevitable when it emerged Stones had been learning Spanish but that, it seems, is a long term career ambition rather than an immediate aim.
If either of the Premier League giants meet Everton’s fee of £50m, it will make Stones the most-expensive English defender. His reputation was untarnished by England’s debacle at Euro 2012 where he did not feature in Roy Hodgson’s starting line-ups.
With Stones departure inevitable, new Everton boss Ronald Koeman has identified Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann, 29, and Porto’s Bruno Martins Indi, 24, as potential replacements.
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