Chelsea set to increase bid for Everton centre back John Stones

After having an initial £20m bid for Everton and England defender John Stones turned down, Chelsea, 13/8 with Coral to win the Premier League next season, are set to return with an improved £26m bid. However, the Toffees are proving difficult in their negotiations and are believed to be holding out for a £36m offer.

It is no doubt an inflated fee for the player at this time, who definitely has the potential to be one of the best, though this high asking price could be because Everton feel that they overpaid for striker Romelu Lukaku last summer, having bought him for a whopping £27m and may want to compensate themselves for that with the Stones deal.

Should the Blues be successful in luring Stones, the 21-year-old could have the benefit of John Terry’s wisdom for longer than he would have initially thought. The club’s captain has told chiefs that he wants to stay at the club for two more years; certainly long enough to proficiently groom his successor, who could also emulate Terry’s achievements for England.

It remains to be seen whether Everton replace Stones before he leaves or after and, while funds are available, it is unclear how much.

This could be the deal-breaker and Chelsea will have realised this. With Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk (a more than capable replacement for Stones) in huge demand and his asking price said to be around £10m, whether Everton can pay this without funds from the Blues remains to be seen.

They are also competing with other clubs for his signature, so time, or lack of it remains key to what price Chelsea snare Stones for. Jose Mourinho will recognise his club has the upper hand and, while Everton certainly talk a good game, they surely realise that holding out for £36m could be suicidal to their own ambitions in the transfer market.