According to The Mirror, Chelsea are aiming to land Everton’s £12million-rated John Stones before this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
The 19-year-old central defender only joined the Toffees last summer in a £3million deal from recently relegated Championship side Barnsley, although after a number of impressive displays, his reputation has rocketed.
Under the guidance of Everton boss Roberto Martinez, the youngster really took to the rigors of Premier League football and found himself at the heart of the Toffee’s Champions League push.
The 6ft 2inch defender made 15 Premier League starts throughout the season, but it was not until March and April during Everton’s fine league form that he came to the forefront.
His style of play and calmness at the back was epitomised during Everton’s 1-0 victory against Sunderland in April, as Stones – in for the injured Phil Jagielka - recorded nine clearances and maintained an 82% pass success rate from the back.
His recent rise on the pitch has not gone unnoticed and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has reportedly earmarked the player as a potential long-term replacement for former England captain John Terry.
Terry, 33, recently signed a new one-year deal at Stamford Bridge and next season is widely tipped to be his last for the Blues.
David Luiz and Gary Cahill are Chelsea’s fellow dependable centre-halves, but there remains a question mark over potential John Terry replacements Tomas Kalas and Kurt Zouma given their inexperience.
Everton youngster Stones appears the most like-for-like replacement, and a move to Chelsea this summer could represent an excellent career choice for the England under-21 international.
Here is some reaction from the fans:
Chelsea want £12 million for Stones! Pah! Double it and the rest! Typical Mourinho.— Hagrid (@HarryBlackburn2) Mayo 18, 2014