Jose Mourinho is a confused man right now.
After being accused of skulduggery by Everton boss Roberto Martinez regarding a bid for John Stones, Mourinho has spoken out about Chelsea’s pursuit of the 21-year-old defender.
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It is believed Chelsea had an initial bid of $30 million for Stones turned down but that the Blues are ready to go back in for the England international as Mourinho sees the Barnsley-born defender as the perfect replacement for John Terry.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s opening 2015 International Champions Cup game against the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday, Mourinho insisted that Chelsea could afford Stones and didn’t have an issue with having to pay over the odds for young English talent.
”That is the market. And you only pay it if you want. If you don’t want to pay it, don’t pay. It’s as simple as that. The market has no rules or limits from season to season,” Mourinho said. “And the only surprise comes that the limits change – and not even the introduction of a few rules [financial fair play] is able to control the market. The market is where it is and it’s up to the clubs to decide yes or no. And I speak just for ourselves. For ourselves there are certain rules.”
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Is $45 million for Stones way over the top? Yes. But so was the $75 million Manchester City paid Liverpool for Raheem Sterling and the $47 million Manchester United paid Southampton for Luke Shaw last summer. The cost of securing young English talent has been on the rise for years and with the increased money flooding into the bank account of PL clubs, prizing away top young talents from other so called “smaller” teams is becoming increasingly expensive as sides outside of the traditional top six do not have to sell due to their new-found wealth.
Stones would be a great fit for Chelsea and Mourinho certainly likes a ball-playing center back if you look at how he used Ricardo Carvalho for Porto and Chelsea in the past, plus he fast-tracked Raphael Varane into Real Madrid’s first team while in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu. Stones is in the same mold as though players and although his physical strength has been questioned over the past few seasons, he seems to have “beefed up” and has the potential to play at center back for the English national team for many years to come.
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper ahead of Chelsea’s opening preseason game, current center back Gary Cahill urged Stones to join the Stamford Bridge club to partner him.
“From what I have seen when I have been away with him for England, he is a genuinely nice guy, a down-to-earth lad. There is nothing ‘big-time’ about him. So for me, I’m sure he will be able to cope with the fee,” Cahill said. “Plus, with the right support around him, like from the more experienced players in the squad and his family, I’m sure he’ll be fine… Are Chelsea a hard club to turn down? Yes of course. In terms of ambition, if you’re a young player in the game, have played in the Premier League like he did a lot last year, and a big club come calling, it’s very difficult to turn down because you want to achieve the most you can in the short period you have in your career as a professional footballer.”
Chelsea’s players and manager are making it perfectly clear they want Stones at Stamford Bridge. Now, it’s up to Chelsea and Everton to agree a fee for one of the most promising central defensive talent in the Premier League.