Everton manager Roberto Martinez has insisted defender John Stones will not be sold to Chelsea.
The Premier League champions are expected to return with a third bid for the 21-year-old England international after a failed £26m offer.
Martinez was critical of Chelsea after a first £20m bid was made public.
And when asked about another possible approach for Stones on Thursday, Martinez said: “The player is not for sale and that is the end of it.”
He added: “Our situation has been very clear from the beginning. We are not a selling club who will lose our best performers.”
Stones, who made 23 Premier League appearances last season, signed a new five-year contract with the Godison Park club last August.
Editor’s Note: Personally I think it’s the right decision…..for now. The big question that John Stones has to ask himself is how much game time would he be getting at Chelsea if he was to move this season. Yes you could argue that if he was under the tutelage of John Terry then that could aid his development somewhat but at his age the best way to develop is minutes on the pitch. With John Terry saying he could play for Chelsea until he’s 40 (I’m not saying he actually would) then he doesn’t look like he’s going to want to give up his armband anytime soon therefore if Stones was purchased for say £30m when would he actually get some minutes on the pitch. You could buy Stones with a view to transitioning him into the team over the next few seasons but I think Stones is too good to be occupying the bench week in and week out.
Also their is the wider issue of it hampering his development with England, if he was not playing every week at Chelsea then he couldn’t really lay claim to being a first choice Centre Back. People refer to Stones as being a England International for the next 10-12 years but surely now he needs to be playing more often than that to make this a reality. If Everton have another season of underachieving and finish outside the European spots then the clammer for Stones to move will obviously be a lot greater. But I think he will be better suited getting one more season at Goodison Park under his belt before a move to London is signed off.