Chelsea on brink of accepting defeat in Stones hunt

After Everton once more insisted John Stones is simply not for sale, it is believed Chelsea are on the verge of ending their interest in signing him this summer.

Jose Mourinho had made the England international a key target ahead of next week’s deadline, as he looks to increase the competition for his current central defenders and find a long-term successor to captain John Terry. The former Barnsley youngster would also provide an alternative at right fullback to Branislav Ivanovic, who has struggled in the early stages of this season.

The champions failed with two bids for the 21-year-old, but would have been confident that a third offer of a staggering £37million would be enough to entice the Toffees to sell especially when the player submitted a transfer request. However, the Goodison Park club again rejected this latest bid, and have once more insisted that their January 2013 signing was simply not for sale.

Head coach Roberto Martinez stated after the 5-3 League Cup win at Barnsley that the transfer request had been rejected, and that Stones was staying on Merseyside. And chairman Bill Kenwright has now said in a statement: “We have resolutely turned down offers from another Premier League club. John is not for sale and he will remain a highly valued member of our first team squad.”

According to The Mirror, this latest snub and the continued stance from Everton could now see Chelsea end their interest in Stones, at least for the current window. They would then turn to alternative defensive targets, but with just days left before the window closes until the New Year, Mourinho will have his work cut out to add to his options for the first half of the campaign.

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