Chelsea made one final bid for John Stones of £38m this week, their fourth offer for the Everton defender this summer, but now feel that they can do no more to persuade his club to sell him in this window.

The defending champions have taken at face value today’s communication from Everton that there is no prospect of them signing Stones in this transfer window, with a public statement to that effect from chairman Bill Kenwright giving the Merseyside club no wriggle room ahead of Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

The 21-year-old met with manager Roberto Martinez at the club’s Finch Farm training ground and was given the news in person that his transfer request, handed in on Tuesday, was to be rejected and that the club would not sell him at any price. Chelsea did not pursue the player right up to the fourth bid of £38m without some encouragement that the that player had a price at which he would be sold, but are now looking at other options.

The decision was made by Martinez and Kenwright and demonstrates the shifting attitudes of those clubs outside the traditional top six, as they finished last season. With the league on the eve of the £5.14bn, three-year television deal next season and a lucrative international rights offer coming, the kind of sums offered for players by Champions League clubs in the past are simply not gaining the traction they once did.


In a statement, Everton said they had rejected Stones’ transfer request. “Since the start of the transfer window, we have resolutely turned down offers from another Premier League football club for our player. John is not for sale and he will remain a highly valued member of our first team squad.”

Chelsea will now push ahead with a number of other options that they have pursued this summer in the centre-back position although they have not made a final decision on who, if anyone, they will sign. Their policy wherever possible is to sign young, English talent and that points towards a return for Stones at some point.

There was no question in Stones’ mind that he wanted to leave and it was his understanding that he would be a regular starter at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. Nevertheless, his decision to sign a new five-year contract at Everton just 12 months ago meant that there was simply no leverage in his dealings with his club, who believe that his value in the transfer market will only get greater with more experience and a buoyant television rights’ market.

Chelsea will also pursue Paul Pogba’s signing over the remainder of the transfer window but believe that he is another player to whom they can go back to in future transfer windows if there is no deal to be done before Tuesday.