Chelsea must do their utmost to sign John Stones in January after their failure to sign the Everton defender back in the summer.
The 21-year-old, who shone during England’s comfortable victory over France last Wednesday, is one of the world’s hottest talents and has excelled for the Toffees so far this season.
However, with his stock rising more and more by the game, Jose Mourinho must move swiftly and offer Everton a blank cheque if they're to pip Manchester United and Barcelona to his signature.
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With John Terry finally beginning to show his age, Mourinho moved for Stones back in August but saw any attempts to sign him thwarted by Toffees boss Roberto Martinez and Chairman Bill Kenwright.
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Despite the player himself handing in a transfer request, the blue side of Merseyside stood strong and rejected a £40 million bid that would have made him the most expensive defender of all time.
Chelsea's failure to land their man has been highlighted by a chastening start to the Premier League season that has seen the Premier League champions fall well behind both Manchester clubs and Arsenal in the race for the league title.
Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma have all struggled to replicate the form that helped guide the Blues to the crown back in May, whilst new signing Papy Djilobodji could already be on the move in the New Year.
MAN IN DEMAND
Stones’ eye-catching performances at Goodison Park may have turned Mourinho’s head, but the Portuguese is not alone in the list of admirers for the youngster.
With Barcelona’s transfer ban (if you can call it that) set to expire in January, the Catalan giants are eager to sign the starlet having been defensively short of options since the retirement of Carlos Puyol in May last year.
Also interested are United who, according to recent reports, could gazump the Blues with a mammoth £45 million bid for Stones.
Louis van Gaal’s side have been exceptional at the back this year and, with Chris Smalling in the form of his life, the Dutchman is eager to unite the two England team-mates at club level.
With many of Europe’s elite now touted as Stones’ next possible destination, Chelsea must cough up the cash if Stamford Bridge is to become the Englishman’s next home.
Having Terry around could be the factor that swings the pendulum their way, with the veteran still a big influence around the club and the perfect tutor to help him thrive.
But with Barcelona and United interested, Mourinho must do everything to get his man. Failure to do so would only rub salt into his already gaping wounds.