Chelsea have seen their second for Everton star John Stones rejected, according to various reports. The bid is believed to have been worth £25million but still fell short of Roberto Martinez's evaluation.
The Blues have caused something of a stir with their very-public pursuit of this young defender and it seems Stamford Bridge officials are determined to keep this transfer saga in the news after leaking this latest development.
Jose Mourinho openly admitted that he had bid £20m for Stones earlier this month and hinted he would be prepared to stump up much more cash in a bid to land his No1 target. However, the Special One will now have to return to the drawing board after seeing his second bid knocked back.
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It is likely that Chelsea will look to make a third and final bid before the end of the transfer window with Mourinho prepared to let this saga run well into the new season. The Premier League gets underway on August 8 but the transfer window won't close until the start of September.
Recent reports have claimed that Everton will only let the 21-year-old leave Goodison Park for a fee in excess of £30m. Such an offer would make Stones the most expensive British defender of all time, eclipsing the £29m Manchester United paid for Rio Ferdinand in 2002.
Nothing better to do
Unfortunately for Everton, their Premier League rivals have set their sights on the England international and have a wallet brimming with cash. So far Chelsea have signed Asmir Begovic, replacing Petr Cech, and Radamel Falcao, replacing Didier Drogba.
Mourinho is clearly of the impression that his title-winning squad does not need much strengthening and sees Stones as a man who could eventually replace John Terry. It is not essential that Chelsea sign their man this summer, but simply have nothing better to do but to pursue the transfer.
For Stones, the chance to join the Premier League champions must be tempting, but he knows he will be in for a tough time when it comes to competing for a place in the first-team. He is virtually guaranteed a starting spot at Everton, but won't benefit from playing with world-class stars.
There is no doubt the pursuit was made public in a deliberate attempt to unsettle Stones and it seems he may be ready to ask for a transfer. However, Chelsea will first have to agree to make him Britain's most expensive defender.
To make matters worse, it is also believed that Manchester United are also ready to enter the fray with Louis van Gaal keen to boost both his options in defence and the number of homegrown stars in his squad.
Jonny Evans, who is a target for Everton, could also be used as a makeweight.
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