Rumour: Manchester United plotting move for Chelsea target John Stones
Manchester United are planning to swoop for Everton defender John Stones, who has been actively pursued by Premier League champions Chelsea, ESPN reports. It is understood that United are trying to entice the Toffees by offering defender Jonny Evans plus cash in exchange of the highly rated 21-year-old.
Chelsea and Everton are currently embroiled in a bitter transfer saga over Stones, with managers Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez engaged in a war of words over the issues. The Stamford Bridge outfit have been very public in their pursuit of the English defender and that has enraged the Blue half of Merseyside, who have already rejected two bids from Chelsea.
“Another club is making a statement in the press so openly and I don’t think that is the way we would do it at Everton,” Martinez said. “We wouldn’t speak about a player at another club. John Stones is an Everton player full stop. We are not a selling club in that respect. There is nothing to speak to John about.”
Not one to shy away from a confrontation, Mourinho had responded by claiming that they will continue their pursuit until Everton came out with a ‘not for sale’ statement.
“If one day Roberto Martinez or the chairman says: ‘He’s not for sale; we don’t accept any bid’, game over. So during this process, it’s clear, we don’t deny we made a bid for Stones. It means we are trying to buy.” he said. “Until September 1, we can improve the bid: £1 more, £10 more, we can improve the bid.”
United looking to bolster their defensive options
True to his word, Chelsea are reportedly preparing a third bid in the region of £30 million but with United now planning to come in the fray, things could really spice up. The Reds are light in options in central defense and their Dutch manager Louis van Gaal had opted to play compatriot Daley Blind alongside Chris Smalling in their season opener against Tottenham Hotspur last week.
Phil Jones continues to be on the sidelines for United as he recovers from a mild thrombosis while Marcos Rojo is still not fully match fit after his exertions at the Copa America where he reached the final with Argentina.
Jonny Evans is United’s senior most defender at the moment but has fallen out of favour with Van Gaal. Injuries and disciplinary issues restricted the Northern Irish international’s appearances to just 15 for the 2014/15 season.
"No, it’s nothing. There is no truth in that,” he had said when enquired about Evans.
However with Chelsea relentless in their approach for Stones, it remains to be seen what decision Martinez takes with regards to Everton’s promising youngster.