The John Stones Saga continues to labor on, but at least so far Everton has remained firm in their stated desire to retain the young Centre-Back.
As reported by the multiple news sources on Wednesday, Everton has rejected the latest £26 million bid from the persistent Chelsea. This comes after an earlier rejection of a £20 million bid from the London club. Both offers are far below the England international's value, of course, and manager Roberto Martinez has been insistent that Stones is not up for sale.
Sky Sports News have since reported that Everton have again told Chelsea that they have no intention of letting Stones go this summer.
BREAKING: Sky Sources: Everton have no intention of selling John Stones & have told Chelsea twice he is not for sale #SSNHQ— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) July 29, 2015
Still, the whisperings of those in the know are hardly supportive of Everton's hardline stance; the Telegraph article specifically mentions a £34 million asking price as the likely cost of acquiring Stones. If such a deal does occur, it would break the record the British Transfer Record of £32 million for a defender, set by Manchester United in acquiring Luke Shaw last year.
Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho has made no secret about his desire to add Everton's 21-year-old defender by the end of the transfer window, and seems to enjoy the frustration his pursuit is causing Martinez and the Everton faithful. With money never seeming to be an issue for Chelsea, if there's a deal to be made, it's admittedly hard to see how it doesn't happen eventually. The only hope is that the Board can hold firm in the face of an exponentially growing payday, a prospect most longtime followers of the club hardly find reassuring.
With roughly a month left before the September 1st Transfer Deadline, Chelsea has plenty of time to come back with a third offer. It will be an anxious few weeks for Everton supporters in the meantime.