“We don’t deny we made a bid for Stones. It means we are trying to buy.”
“At the moment Everton say, ‘We don’t accept this bid’. They don’t say, ‘We don’t accept any bid.’ While they say, ‘We don’t accept this bid’, until September 1 [when the summer transfer window closes] we can improve it. One pound more, ten pounds more – we can improve the bid. It is an open market until September 1.”
Those were the words of Jose Mourinho who was speaking from Canada where his side are having their pre-season preparations.
The Blues have already seen a bid of £20m rejected by the Toffees, but are expected to make an improved bid, believed to be in the region of £26m for the young center-back later this week.
But who exactly is John Stones and what can he offer to Chelsea if he’s eventually bought?
Name: John Stones
Age: 21-years-old (28-05-1994)
Position: Defender (Center, Right)
Height: 188cm (6ft 2in)
Stones joined Everton from Barnsley in the January transfer window of 2013 for a fee believed to be in the region of £3m after registering 28 appearances for the Tykes since making his debut in 2011.
“I am very excited to be joining. Now the hard work begins,” Stones said after he signed.
He has certainly lived up to expectations since then, having cemented his place in the Toffees squad and went on to make 23 Premier League appearances last season.
He was recently handed the famous number five shirt when the Everton announced their squad numbers for 2015/16 a few days ago.
Stones has played at all English International levels from the England U-19s through to the national team.
He was part of the England U-20s that participated in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and was eventually called up to the national side in 2014.
The Everton defender has gone on to make four appearances for England, with no goals to his name.
2014/2015 Premier League Statistics
Goals / Assists: 1/0
Pass Accuracy: 89.5%
Passes per game: 45.1
Tackles per game: 1.4
Interceptions per game: 1.5
Aerial Duels won per game: 2.6
(Stats via Whoscored.com)
Stones possesses an exceptional reading of the game and he is not afraid to hold on to the ball and string passes from the defense. His combination of pace and power are important for any defender and he is already being touted to become a future leader of the defense.
He is also dominant in the air; his average of 2.6 aerial duels won per game is only matched by John Terry of the current Chelsea defenders while the other two, Cahill and Zouma, have 1.5 each.
The 21-year-old is already comfortable with playing in the top-flight and while he is not yet the finished article, he can certainly strengthen any team he signs for to a significant extent.
What can he bring to Chelsea?
If he joins, Stones is unlikely to become a first-team player at Stamford Bridge next season. However, he will definitely provide adequate backup to both Terry and Cahill and will also have to compete with Zouma who was the club’s young player of the year last season.
Importantly, he will be able to gain a lot from Terry whom he declared his admiration for in an interview earlier this year. With the Chelsea captain nearing the end of his playing career, Terry can pass a wealth of knowledge into Stones and teach him a thing or two about playing at the highest level.
That alone could go a long way to helping his development and prepare him to take the mantle when the Chelsea legend eventually retires.
Also, there is the prospect of working with one of the best managers in the world in Jose Mourinho who has a reputation for nurturing good defenders into great ones which is hard to turn down by any player.
Everything seems to be perfectly set up for Stones to succeed at Chelsea and with Everton seemingly preparing for life after the 21-year-old, it is only a matter of time before a fee is agreed between the sides and the deal comes into fruition.