Chelsea could reportedly face stiff competition from Manchester City if they’re still keen on signing Everton defender John Stones.
According to Neil Moxley in the Sunday People (h/t the Daily Mirror), City are plotting a major summer bid for the England international centre-back and are willing to offer the Toffees three players in exchange for the talented centre-back. Moxley claimed Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas and Eliaquim Mangala could all head to Goodison Park as part of the deal.
Last summer the Blues had four bids rejected for the 21-year-old, per Luke Augustus of the MailOnline. The player also had a transfer request turned down by the club. And now it seems as though a failure to bring Stones in may be costly for Chelsea, with Premier League rivals interested.
As noted by the Daily Mail’s Ell Bretland, Everton manager Roberto Martinez clearly rates his player very highly:
Ell Bretland @EllBretland
Martinez on Stones: 'I think John Stones is, without a doubt, the best footballing centre-half I’ve seen in European football.' #EFC2/9/2016, 12:24:05 PM
With Pep Guardiola set to take the manager’s job at City next season, Stones does seem like a logical target. The youngster is very composed in possession and superb at carrying the ball into midfield; it’s a quality that sets him apart from a lot of other centre-backs and one which he’s been lauded for.
This season Stones has endured a tough time, with Everton struggling defensively. But there’s no denying he possesses the talent to go to the very top. Former England international Gary Lineker was effusive in his praise of the former Barnsley man earlier in the season:
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
What an absolute delight it is to watch an English central defender play in such a relaxed manner on the ball. John Stones is a class act.12/26/2015, 6:51:14 PM
Although Everton were reluctant to sell to Chelsea late in the summer window, you suspect if they were to receive a substantial offer this time around, they’d consider accepting it. However, an exchange deal involving three players seems extremely unlikely, given how complicated a transfer of that nature would be.
Still, it’d be no surprise if both City and Chelsea were in the hunt for this defender come the end of the season. However, unfortunately for the Blues, at the moment the Etihad Stadium outfit look a far more attractive proposition.
John Terry Linked With China Move
Chelsea skipper John Terry has become the latest Premier League star to be linked with a move to the Chinese Super League.
The division has attracted plenty of high-profile players in recent weeks, including Alex Teixeira, Jackson Martinez and Ramires. And with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star stated Terry could be the next big name to head east.
“Don’t bet against it,” he wrote. “Terry, 35 is out of contract at the end of the season and has indicated he’ll be leaving after the club told him he will not be offered a new deal. Last summer, he made a one-man tour of China in what is being seen as a smart PR exercise. His former England boss, Sven Goran Eriksson, would be keen on a reunion in Shanghai.”
Although Terry has claimed he is likely to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, it’s clear the club’s supporters want to see him stick around, per Liam Twomey of ESPN FC:
Liam Twomey @liam_twomey
The Shed End distracted by Chelsea's blistering start but finally get round to a chorus of 'John Terry, we want you to stay' #cfc #nufc2/13/2016, 5:44:49 PM
If he was to depart, the Chinese Super League may well represent an intriguing proposition. As is evident by the calibre of player being attracted to the division, the standard is on the rise and the veteran defender would also be handsomely paid for his time.
Additionally, it’d give Terry the chance to continue playing regular football. At 35, it’s likely his appearances will be reduced in number if he was to sign on for another season at Stamford Bridge. Still, such is his affinity with the club, if Chelsea were to offer him any kind of contract extension, then he’d surely find it tough to turn down.