Chelsea FC have had a second bid for Everton’s John Stones rejected, according to multiple sources including ESPNFC. The Blues had initially offered £20million for the defender, but then returned with a £26m bid after their first attempt was rebuked.
Stones has been on Jose Mourinho’s radar for some time now, with the Blues in need of long term replacements at centre-back. The 21-year-old joined the Toffees in January 2013, having impressed at Barnsley. Signing a five-and-a-half year contract in a deal worth £3million, he did not appear in the 2012/13 season on Merseyside.
However, he was afforded regular playing time in the following two campaigns, making 26 competitive appearances in the 2013/14 season and 28 appearances last time out. His impressive performances led to Roy Hodgson handing him his senior debut for England in May and he has consistently featured since, with four caps now to his name.
On the back of this, supposed bigger clubs are interested in making him a part of their plans and the Blues are leading the charge. With John Terry nearing retirement, Bransilav Ivanovic the wrong side of 30, and Gary Cahill entering his third decade of life by the end of the year, the Blues are running out of viable options at the back.
Currently the only other player on the club’s books who is ready to be thrown in the deep end of a Champions League knock-out game is Kurt Zouma. Apart from him there is a genuine, and serious, shortage of staff. Nathan Aké is also listed as a first team defender, but there are certainly doubts over his ability at the moment to be a regular Premier League player.
This underlines why Mourinho is so keen on Stones. It is unlikely, no matter how much you want to believe otherwise, that Terry will be able to turn out 38 times like last season. As a result there is already a gap that will need to be filled regularly in the heart of the Chelsea defence. Currently you could argue that Zouma is the man to do so, and I would be hard-pressed to disagree, but there still is insufficient depth should injuries start hitting our defence.
If the Blues successfully negotiate a deal with Everton, there are numerous benefits that will come with it. At his age, he most probably won’t be too fussed about fulfilling a squad rotation role, something that is hard to find in modern football. Conversely, should injuries mean that he would need to play every week, he is already of the quality that would leave you unconcerned should he have to start a Champions League final.
Furthermore, with his age Stones could end up being Chelsea’s next John Terry. A fan’s dream would be that he is able to forge a partnership with Zouma that could potentially last for a good 10 years, or more. Another added benefit is that he is indeed English, and thus adds to the home-grown quota that is becoming increasingly important (and hard) to fill.
This seems like a necessary investment, and the internet is awash with fans stating that even £40million would be a good price for him given the direction the market is headed. Some supporters (rightly) point out that Chelsea already have young defensive talent at the club (Andreas Christensen, Tomas Kalas), and should look to use them more instead of breaking the bank for a new player.
This is a valid argument, but even if Chelsea are to blame for the way that they have handled their youngsters, the fact is that these players simply are not good enough now. The Blues need someone like Stones and you would do well to escape that fact.
How much would you pay for Stones? Do you think Everton will even let him go? Get involved and sound off in the comments below!