Everton insist Holgate hasn’t been signed to replace Stones

Everton have completed the signing of Mason Holgate, but Roberto Martinez insists this is not to prepare for the sale of John Stones.

England international Stones has been the subject of two failed bids from Chelsea, who are widely expected to return with an improved third offer before the window shuts early next month. The 21-year-old has been a resounding success since leaving Barnsley for Goodison Park for £3million in 2013, and has now played 55 times for the Merseyside club in all competitions.

Whether the Toffees can continue to resist the riches Roman Abramovich is willing to offer remains to be seen, but in the meantime they have made another raid on Oakwell by taking Holgate for a reported fee of £1million. This has further fuelled speculation that Stones is set for Stamford Bridge, but Martinez insists his latest acquisition has not been brought in to replace the defender.

“I have said before the player (Stones) is not for sale and that is the end of it,” said the Spanish coach. “Our situation has been very clear from the beginning. We are not a selling club who will lose our best performers. He is very important player for us and we are looking forward to seeing the best of John over the next few seasons, not just the next few weeks.

“Mason, at 18-years-old, has already played 20 games in League One and that shows the potential he has. He will be a phenomenal young prospect coming into that golden generation we feel we have at the club and he will be a good one for the future. Mason is a completely different type of player to John but in terms of personality and character they are very similar.”

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