Everton’s tough stance on the future of John Stones has reportedly seen Chelsea scale back their ambitions as they try to bolster their defense ahead of the close of the transfer window. Chelsea are thought to have had three bids, rising to £30 million, rejected for Everton center-back John Stones, while the player has also had a transfer request turned down. And Everton are now insistent that the 21-year-old will be staying put, with manager Roberto Martinez even suggesting that the transfer request was a mistake.
“Obviously he's been put under massive, massive pressure,” Martinez said after Stones played in Everton’s goalless draw with Tottenham on Saturday, reports ESPN. “The transfer request was something he didn't mean to do.
“We are going to take extra measures in every window from now on to protect players and help them through, because it is all becoming too much. He's already stronger. In the last three or four weeks he's had to mature. We have to give him support and help him so that when he goes away now he feels the Everton support.”
Signing a center-back has become a matter of urgency after a poor start to the season continued with a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Having also seen their interest in Zenit St Petersburg’s Ezequiel Garay knocked back, Chelsea are now believed to be turning their attention elsewhere.
According to The Guardian, and other sources, Nantes center-back Papy Djilobodji is now close to a £2.7-million transfer to Stamford Bridge. The 26-year-old’s price tag has been reduced by the fact he has entered the final year of his contract at the Ligue 1 club, still the potential move signifies how Chelsea have had to rapidly move down their list of targets in a their search for a defender before the transfer deadline. Djilobodji, who has also been interesting Trabzonspor and Celta Vigo, is a Senegal international who has been at Nantes since 2005.
The chances of Chelsea getting the type of signing that could reinvigorate Jose Mourinho’s squad now look slim. Paul Pogba could be the answer to many of Chelsea’s problems, given the midfielder’s all-round ability to dominate an area that has been a major weakness for the Blues so far this campaign. Reports have suggested that Chelsea are prepared to test Juventus’ resolve to hold onto the France international with a bid of £80 million.
Yet, leading Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport states that such an offer would be insufficient. According to the newspaper, the Italian champions would only be prepared to open negotiations if Chelsea put 150 million euros (£110 million) on the table. Having already allowed midfielders Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo to leave this summer, Juventus are hugely reluctant to lose Pogba, to whom they have handed the prestigious No. 10 shirt this season.