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Everton braced for big-money bid as Chelsea turn their attentions to defender

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Reports suggest the Champions are ready to make a move

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Chelsea are ready to launch a bid for Everton defender John Stones this summer, according to a report in the London Evening Standard.

The Standard claims that Chelsea have turned their attentions to England defender Stones after their hopes of signing Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane faded.

New Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has reportedly promised Varane more first-team football at the Bernabeu, forcing Chelsea to switch targets.

Despite the report a Chelsea bid this summer doesn't make much sense as John Terry and Gary Cahill are first-choice at Stamford Bridge.

But with Terry 35 next birthday the search for a replacement is on and it is no surprise Stones - who won Everton's Young Player of the Year award last season - is on their long-term wanted list.

However, Everton have already stated they do not want to sell the 21-year-old, who only signed a long-term contract last summer.

Several media reports have valued Stones between £15-20million, though quite where they have got that valuation from I don't know.

Stones is destined for the top and that potential alone means Everton should not entertain any bid less than £30-35million.

It's vital for the team's progress that they keep the young nucleus of players that Roberto Martinez is looking to build his side around. Stones is central to that as well as Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and James McCarthy.

If they do sell then it has to be for an outrageous fee - as players with the style, skill and attitude of Stones do not come around very often and will be very difficult to replace.