With defender John Stones continuing to be linked with a move to reigning Premier League champions Chelsea, Roberto Martinez has issued a “hands off” warning to Jose Mourinho.
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Everton’s boss has previously revealed his displeasure in Mourinho publicly revealing his interest in Stones, and ahead of their trip to Southampton on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) the Spanish manager has issued another plea, telling Chelsea that their $45 million target is not for sale.
Stones, 21, has burst onto the scene since his move from Barnsley in 2012 and the England international defender has impressed with his composure on the ball in central defense.
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Those qualities, and Everton’s lack of cover in central defense, mean that losing Stones would be a hammer blow for the Toffees. However, according to their boss Martinez, their prized possession is going nowhere this summer.
“The player is not for sale and that is the end of it,” Martinez said. “Our situation has been very clear from the beginning. We are not a selling club who will lose our best performers.”
So, is that the end of Chelsea’s pursuit of Stones? It’s highly unlikely the west London club will not come back in for the highly-rated defender but they may now wait until January or perhaps next summer to see if another season as a regular at Everton sees Stones develop further.
If the Toffees fail to finish back in the top six this season after a down year finishing in 11th place in 2014-15, then perhaps Stones will want to move on and test himself in the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea. Becoming a regular for England will also be at the forefront of his mind, and with Chelsea’s captain John Terry unable to go on forever, maybe a move to Chelsea next summer would make more sense for Stones.
Let’s see how this plays out, but for now the Goodison Park faithful can rest easy as the baby-faced boy from Barnsley is going nowhere.