Chelsea will make a second offer for Everton defender John Stones worth around £26 million as the battle for his signature heats up.
The Blues are targeting Stones as a long-term replacement for veteran John Terry, but have already had one offer of around £20 million rejected by the Toffees.
It is thought that Everton are holding out for a fee of over £30 million before letting him leave, but according to the Mirror Chelsea's offer will fall just short of that.
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The saga is threatening to turn sour as Everton do all they can to hold on to their star defender. According to the Mirror, The Toffees claim to have sent Chelsea a letter informing them that Stones is not for sale at any price this summer, something that the Blues dispute.
They claim that while a letter was received it didn't say the 21-year-old was not for sale, and they plan to press on with their second offer in the coming days.
Earlier this week Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho admitted that the club had previously had their first offer rejected and confirmed that a second offer would likely be forthcoming because Everton hadn't ruled out a sale altogether.
He said: "If one day [Everton manager] Roberto Martinez or the chairman come and say he’s not for sale, we don’t accept any bid, it’s game over. So during this process, it’s clear, we don’t deny we made a bid for Stones. We are trying to buy.”
Martinez reacted angrily to Chelsea's interest in Stones earlier week, however the Daily Mail say that Stones is keen to speak to the Premier League champions and play in the Champions League next season.
The row over Stones is growing increasingly bitter, but it seems somewhat inevitable that Chelsea will get their man.
However they may have to break the British record for a defender by paying more than the £31.5 million forked out by Manchester City for Eliaquim Mangala. Chelsea of course already have one half of their future defence in Kurt Zouma and see Stones as the final piece of the puzzle.
He emerged with major credit after a fine campaign last time round as Everton struggled, and it seems as though it could have been his last on Merseyside.