Coral Rumour Reel: Blues fear Stones set for secret Manchester switch?
Chelsea, 11/5 second-favourites to retain the Premier League title with Coral, are reportedly concerned that top defensive target John Stones is also on the radar of the Manchester clubs.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho and the Stamford Bridge hierarchy are lining up a third bid for the England international of around £30m, but Goodison Park counterpart Roberto Martinez insists prized asset Stones is not for sale.
Putting in a fine display at the back as the Toffees beat Southampton handsomely 3-0 on the south coast in the live Saturday lunchtime game, Stones has pundits waxing lyrical once again.
Manchester United, 5/1 to be Premier League champions, are currently without both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, forcing utility man Daley Blind to play at centre back. There is also talk of Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans moving on (see below).
Man City, meanwhile, who go into their home game with Chelsea as 13/8 Premier League title favourites, may still be looking to add English players to fulfill their homegrown quota, despite previously signing Fabian Delph, Patrick Roberts and Raheem Sterling this summer.
Stones would add quality to any top-flight heavyweights’ rearguard, so the transfer saga surrounding him is set to drag on.
Looking at a potential inbound transfer to Everton, 10/3 for a top six finish, they are once again linked with the aforementioned Evans. Martinez’s men will not get a clear run on him, however, and may be put off by a £12m valuation, despite the potential prospect of getting £30m for Stones.
Midlands pair Stoke City, a tasty 10/1 for the top six, and West Bromwich Albion also reportedly hold interest in Evans, who appears to have no future at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis is also eyeing up teenage talent Demarai Gray from bitter rivals Birmingham City. West Brom missed out on Bakary Sako to Crystal Palace and appear to have balked at the reported £5m asking price for Nottingham Forest wideman Michail Antonio.