Everton have rejected an improved bid from Chelsea for defender John Stones according to Sky Sports sources.
The England international, 21, was the subject of a £20million bid on July 18 which the Toffees rejected.
Happy at Everton
A second bid was widely expected and Jose Mourinho himself admitted it may take a record offer for an English defender to prise the star away from Goodison Park. Stones has been touted as the deal long-term replacement for skipper John Terry.
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It was also reported that he would be interested in a move to Stamford Bridge, despite the player claiming he is happy at Everton.
The defender said of the matter: "My aim right now is to try to nail down a regular spot in this Everton team and hopefully that will take care of playing for England.
"I have to keep learning from the likes of Phil Jagielka and keep progressing at this club."
The race for Stones
It is believed his quotes came before Chelsea's first bid, which was heavily criticised by Everton boss Roberto Martinez. The Spaniard was disappointed with how the Blues' proposal became public knowledge.
"That is not the way we would do it at Everton, we would not speak of a player who is registered at another club and there is no issue from our point of view - John Stones is an Everton player," he said.
The Blues have been long-term admirers of the England international, who has been capped four times and played in England's dismal European U21 Championship campaign earlier this summer.
Stones has played 44 league games for the Toffees after moving to Goodison Park from Barnsley in 2013, scoring just one goal, in a 3-0 home win over Manchester United in April.
The 21-year old signed a new five-year contract in August 2014 and has played a key role in defence for Roberto Martinez's side. Able to pay as a centre-back or right-back, Stones received his first senior international call up for the friendly against Peru in a World Cup warm-up 3-0 win.
Chelsea have just returned to London having flown back from Washington after their International Champions Cup victory over Barcelona.
They play Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday in the Community Shield before a final pre-season friendly at home to Fiorentina. The Blues then begin the defence of their Premier League title at Stamford Bridge against Swansea City on August 8.
Chelsea fans, is Stones good enough to replace Terry in the long run? Let us know in the comments box below.
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