Former Everton striker Andy Gray believes John Stones is good enough to force his way into the Chelsea starting line-up, after it was revealed the central defender had handed in a formal transfer request.
The Goodison Park club have previously rejected three bids from Chelsea for the England International, with Roberto Martinez claiming on numerous occasions that Stones was not for sale.
However, following his request for Everton to accept a suitable offer from the Stamford Bridge club, it appears more a case of when the former Barnsley man will join the club instead of if.
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Chelsea are confident they can land the 21-year-old with a final offer of £40 million and Gray, who is reluctant to see Stones leave Goodison Park, believes he will be a huge success in West London.
Talking to talkSPORT, he said: “He’s been very quiet, he’s gone on and played, he’s done the right thing and gone about it really well. But now with the transfer request, all that does is just tell everybody that he would like Everton to take the offer, if it’s acceptable, and he would like to move on.
“Of course I would like him to stay, but I really do understand that the young lad has an opportunity to play for Chelsea. But I don’t agree that he might spend the next two years on the bench, I don’t think that will happen. I think he’s good enough to force his way into that team sooner rather than later.
“Even if he did spend a year learning about Chelsea, working with John Terry and Gary Cahill and making himself a better player and then coming into the team constantly next season – I can see him doing that. I can’t see the deal not going through."
£40m is a heavy fee for a player who has only made 85 appearances in his short career, but that is the price for young English talents in today's game.
Stones is a vital part of Everton's defence and his return from injury last season coincided with the club pulling themselves away from the relegation zone.
Chelsea have been desperate to sign the young Lion for some time and it is clear to see why. John Terry has struggled at the start of this season and his lack of pace is becoming a concern for the defending champions.
His career is far from over and he will be influential in any chances Chelsea have of regaining the title, however the addition of Stones would add some much needed pace to the centre of defence.
Stones will also have the opportunity to learn from one of the best centre backs in Premier League history, something that may prove vital in his progression and along with Kurt Zouma Chelsea could have two of the most promising young defenders in world football.