Everton manager Roberto Martinez continued to downplay Chelsea's pursuit of John Stones when speaking with the media today. The center back has been the subject of at least two sizeable bids, but despite rumors to the contrary, Stones remains an Everton player.
While many managers and players would be unsettled by such a public pursuit of a player from a big club like Chelsea, the always positive Martinez thinks that the experience has helped Stones.
That's something that you hope you learn from, and become more mature. Those are good experiences...John is one of the outstanding young talents that we have in the squad, and you're going to get that sort of attraction and interest from the outside
But despite two bids from Chelsea, with the second reportedly in the £26 million range, Martinez continued to assert that Everton are not a selling club and expect Stones to be an Everton player moving forward.
John is one of the outstanding young talents that we have in the squad, and you're going to get that sort of attraction and interest from the outside...Throughout the season, you're going to get that interest, but all we are focused on is Watford. John is an Everton player and there's nothing else to comment on
Martinez may be confident in keeping Stones, but supporters seem more concerned about the Everton board than the manager. If a third bid is launched by Chelsea, it would likely be in the £29-30 million range and many are afraid that the historically cash-strapped Everton board may be unable to resist cashing in on Stones.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no end in sight for this saga as there is still a few weeks left in the transfer window and the winter transfer window not far behind.