Manchester United join race for £45m Chelsea target

John Stones

Over the past 18 months or so, John Stones has established himself as one of the best young defenders in England.

Solid at the back, great positioning awareness and equally comfortable on the ball, Stones has all the attributes and the right attitude to become a world class defender in future.

He has been steadily developing under Roberto Martinez, but probably needs a bigger platform to take his game to the next level.

Chelsea were heavily interested in signing him, and have had a massive £38m bid rejected for the 21-year-old defender.

With European Champions Barcelona having reportedly entered the race as well, Everton are refusing to sell him on cheap.

According to reports from Manchester Evening News, an offer in the region of £45m would be enough to convince Everton to sell.

Manchester United scouts have watched Stones this season ahead of a potential summer bid.

At this stage, United’s interest in the defender has not advanced beyond monitoring, and it remains to be seen whether the Red Devils make any serious move for him next summer.

Chelsea, likewise, are expected to return next summer with another mega bid, as the Blues looking to sign a quality young English defender who could become a long term successor for skipper John Terry.

Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez has admitted that Everton are powerless to prevent star winger Gerard Deulofeu from joining Barcelona next summer, should the Catalan giants wish to take him back.

Barcelona sold Deulofeu to Everton this summer, and inserted a buy-back clause in the deal which would allow them to re-sign at the end of the season.

“There is nothing we can do if they activate it,” Martinez said. “That was the deal and the only way we could access the player in the terms that we wanted.

“I’m delighted with the deal.

“They can’t sell him on at a higher price. There are certain things in the deal.

“They can’t take him back in the winter so they can’t take him back in January. It can only be at the end of the season.

“If they take him back, they can’t sell him for a season. So he has to stay in the first team squad for a season.

“At the end of that, if they decide to sell him, we have got first rights of getting him back, or we have got a big percentage of that.”

Deulofeu has been in brilliant form for Everton, recording a goal and five assists in 10 Premier League appearances. The Spaniard also scored five goals in two games for Spain’s under-21s. 

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