Everton manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed that the recent transfer speculation linking young defender John Stones with a move to Chelsea has affected the player, the Daily Express reports.
Stones has been the subject of two summer bids from Chelsea – with the second reaching the £26m mark (via The Express) – which have taken their toll on the youngster, despite Martinez reiterating his desire to keep him at Goodison Park.
“Yes (it has affected him) and you hope you learn from it and become more mature,” said Martinez.
“Clearly, John is one of the outstanding young talents we have in the squad and you are going to get interest. That is a positive.
“Our focus is on Watford this weekend. John is an Everton player.”
A separate report in The Express claims that The Blues are ready to up their offer to £30m for the England under-21 international, though when he was asked if every player has a price, Martinez replied: “You shouldn’t worry about situations you cannot affect.
“When you are not a club who is trying actively to sell players it means the focus is all about trying to win this weekend.”
Stones sustained a slight knock in the pre-season friendly against Villarreal last weekend, but Martinez expects him to be fit for the clash with Premier League new boys Watford on Saturday.
If Stones has had his head turned by interest from another club, it could be in Martinez’s best interests not to play him. The Toffees suffered a sluggish start to the campaign last year, which invited all manner of pressure and criticism on the Spaniard’s shoulders, which is something he will be looking to avoid this time around.
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