Everton boss Roberto Martinez has issued a hands-off warning to Chelsea as the Premier League champions try to lure John Stones to Stamford Bridge, the Daily Express report.
The Express confirm that the Blues have seen two bids for the 21-year-old – the second of which was reportedly worth £26m – turned down by the Toffees, and Martinez has insisted that he does not plan to lose the England international.
“There is nothing to discuss, he is not a player that is out of contract in ten months, he is not a player we don’t want, he is a player that has a fantastic future with us and there is nothing to comment,” he confirmed.
However, with the transfer window’s closure approaching, and the start of the season on the horizon, the former Wigan manager is playing a slightly dangerous game.
While the first two bids have been knocked back, the Independent previously suggested that Jose Mourinho is willing to pay as much as £34m for the centre-back, which, if such an offer is made, will be extremely difficult for the Merseyside club to turn down.
Should the Everton hierarchy decide they have no choice but to accept that kind of bid, Martinez will be extremely short of options, and will be desperately trying to find a replacement. That may not be easy however, as while they may have the funds to complete a deal, not many sides will be keen to let a defender of the kind of quality that Everton will be looking for, go at such a late stage in the window without a significant fee.
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