For a while now, Everton have been facing a fight to hold on to their highly-talented defender John Stones, with the Englishman a subject of an intense interest from Chelsea. The Blues have seen two bids rejected by the Toffees for the 20-year old defender but with a third one reportedly worth £30m imminent, it is understood they could part ways with the former Barnsley ace.
Stones is seen by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as a long term replacement for captain John Terry and will increase the number of home grown players presently in the Blues’ squad.
Everton have now appeared as though they are resigned to losing the England international and have identified AC Milan powerhouse Christian Zapata as a possible replacement.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez as well as chairman Bill Kenwright have previously stated Stones will not be sold, despite the player reportedly asking to leave. The Spanish boss claimed Stones’ head has been turned by the interest from a club as huge as Chelsea and as such, his performances in trainings have been poor. Stones had an average game in Everton’s opening match last weekend and also this weekend.
Meanwhile, Metro says Martinez is an ardent admirer of Zapata who has 34 caps for the Colombia national team. The 28-year old defender will likely be brought in as soon as the Merseysiders agree to sell Stones to Chelsea.
Stones has risen quickly to establish himself as Phil Jagielka’s centre-back partner at just 20, and this has prompted interests from Premier League heavyweights including Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Blues have finally completed the capture of left-back Baba Rahman after a long-drawn hassle over the move, and the Ghanaian has arrived Stamford Bridge as a replacement for Filipe Luis – who sealed his return to Atletico at the end of last month.