Chelsea fear that both Manchester United and City are plotting secret bids for Everton defender John Stones, a report in the Daily Mail has claimed.
Jose Mourinho has been openly pursuing Stones for the best part of the last month, launching two offers of £20million and £26m. He has also openly spoke about Chelsea's interest along with John Terry and Gary Cahill.
The very public pursuit has left Toffees manager Roberto Martinez reeling and also led him to declare that the 21-year-old won't be leaving Goodison Park this summer.
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However, the race for Stones' signature is set to hot up significantly as Chelsea believe both Manchester clubs are preparing to enter the race.
The Blues are also preparing a third offer worth £30m; an offer that would make Stones to most expensive British defender in history.
Stamford Bridge officials are confident that Stones would jump at the chance to join them and believe personal terms could be agreed swiftly if they are given permission to speak to him.
Waiting in the wings
However, they also believe that Louis van Gaal and Manuel Pellegrini will launch their own bids if Everton finally decide to sell.
Worryingly for Chelsea, there is a firm belief that officials from both Old Trafford and the Etihad are using them to see if Everton can be convinced to sell. They are both keeping their interest quiet, but have every intention of entering the race.
Chelsea are staying patient with regards to Stones and could wait until the final days, or even hours, to make a firm move for him.
However, the Manchester clubs will be hoping to keep the former Barnsley man in the north of England and have every intention of making life difficult for their Premier League rivals.