Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that the Blues have had one bid for defender John Stones turned down by Everton, but is confident that their Premier League rivals are open to the idea of selling up.
The England defender had a breakthrough campaign in the Premier League last time round, starting 23 times and scoring once.
Chelsea have had one offer worth £20 million rejected by Everton for the 21-year-old, however reports suggest that that are about to return with an improved offer of around £30 million.
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Last season Chelsea were forced to rely on Gary Cahill and John Terry as his first choice centre-back, with Kurt Zouma as back-up. However Cahill looked vulnerable at times and Terry is nearing the end of his career, and now Mourinho is in the market for a centre-back.
The Special One hinted that Everton have made it known that they would be open to a deal, and said he would continue his pursuit of the England international.
Mourinho explained: “At the moment Everton say: ‘We don’t accept this bid.’ They don’t say: ‘We don’t accept any bid.’ While they say: ‘We don’t accept this bid’ until September 1 [the day the summer transfer window shuts] we can improve it. One pound more, ten pounds more — we can improve the bid. It’s an open market until September 1.
“If one day Roberto [Martinez] or the chairman come and say: ‘He’s not for sale, we don’t accept any bid’. It’s game over.”
It is believed that Chelsea will make a second bid for Stones, who Mourinho sees as a long-term successor to 34-year-old John Terry, later this week.
Manchester United have previously been linked with the former Barnsley defender, although they are currently targeting a move for Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos.