Chelsea confident of signing John Stones from Everton - sources
Chelsea remain confident of signing Everton defender John Stones despite strained relations between the two clubs over their pursuit of the England international, sources have told ESPN FC.
Chelsea saw an opening bid of £20 million for Stones rejected by Everton last week, but the Premier League champions are set to come back with an improved offer of £26m for the 21-year-old.
Everton have insisted the former Barnsley man is not for sale, with manager Roberto Martinez criticising Chelsea for having made their interest public after both Jose Mourinho and Gary Cahill discussed the player in the media.
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However, Chelsea are optimistic of that they can make a breakthrough in negotiations with Everton feeling the player is interested in a move to Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Stones in recent days, but Chelsea are optimistic that they are leading the race to land the defender.
Stones has impressed at Everton since joining from Barnsley in 2013 and has made 54 appearances during his first two seasons at the club, while also breaking into the senior England squad.