Chelsea are closing in on the signature of Everton defender John Stones after the Merseyside club performed a dramatic U-turn on their position, reports The Sun.
Jose Mourinho saw his biggest offer for the 21-year-old, believed to be worth £30million, rejected by Everton last night.
The Toffees maintain that Stones is not for sale, but behind the closed doors at Goodison Park there is a growing acceptance that they will eventually lose to young centre-back.
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An offer of £35m will be enough to convince Roberto Martinez to sell and will also see Stones become the most expensive defender in British history.
Although Everton will reluctantly let Stones go, they will make a hug profit on the £3m they originally paid Barnsley to side him in 2013. They will then be able to reinvest in the squad before the transfer window closes.
Bad news for Mr Chelsea
While Mourinho will delighted to land his top target, it will be bad news for current captain John Terry, who faces an uncertain future at Stamford Bridge after being hauled off at half-time against Manchester City.
The 34-year-old had a terrific season last year, but his role in the first-team is in serious doubt after Mourinho's shock decision. Currently, Kurt Zouma is the only alternative to either Terry or Gary Cahill, but Stones would certainly push the veteran all the way for a starting spot.
Sources within Stamford Bridge told the same report that there is currently no short-term plan to eliminate Terry from the starting XI.
They could face a problem from both Manchester United and City, however, with both believed to be interested in bidding for Stones themselves. If and when Chelsea agree a fee with Everton, both could choose to match the offer.
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