Jose Mourinho appears to have suggested Chelsea have decided to pursue alternative targets to Everton’s John Stones, also linked with Manchester United, given the disparity between the valuations held by each party.
The Chelsea manager has publicly declared his club’s interest in Stones - much to the irritation of Roberto Martinez - and the Premier League winners are reported to have made at least one bid for the player.
Stones, 21, is considered as a direct replacement for Chelsea captain John Terry who, at 34, is very much in the twilight of his career at Stamford Bridge, hence the club making plans for the future.
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The interest of Manchester United in Stones has seemingly increased Everton’s valuation of the centre-back, with it claimed they are holding out for a sizeable £34 million, and it may now be that Chelsea will concede defeat.
Mourinho at least hinted at this assertion during a press conference of Chelsea’s meeting with Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday, delivering his assessment of the champions’ success in the transfer market this summer.
“The market sometimes has no rules,” Mourinho said.
“We, as Chelsea, we make our own rules.
“To make our own rules is to evaluate the players, and to know the players’ value, and to know when we have to stop and turn to another side, and think in another option.”
Were this to mean that Chelsea will now turn elsewhere in their pursuit of Terry’s successor, then it would seemingly offer Manchester United a free run at Stones - but acquiring him would be no easy feat.
The signing of another centre-back has long been on the agenda for Louis van Gaal and it would come as something of a surprise were he to spend such a significant amount on a player as young as Stones.
With the likes of Mats Hummels, Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Ramos having been linked, supporters have been expecting a marquee recruit in the centre of defence. What Stones does have, however, is Premier League experience - a much valued asset.
Is £34m too much for John Stones? Let us know below!