Everton boss Roberto Martinez appears to have admitted defeat in his attempts to stop defender John Stones from signing for Chelsea, as reported by Metro.
The 21-year-old has been the subject of two rejected bids by Chelsea this summer, with Blues boss Jose Mourinho publicly admitted he’d like to bring Stones to Stamford Bridge.
And despite the Toffees’ reluctance to let their star defender leave Goodison Park, Martinez has admitted that such transfer talk has affected Stones, which might be a hint that Stones could eventually make the switch.
The Spanish chief said: “Yes (it has affected him) and you hope you learn from it and become more mature.
“Clearly, John is one of the outstanding young talents we have in the squad and you are going to get interest. That is a positive.”
The Blues have so far had bids of £20m and £26m rejected for the England international, and reports now suggest they are lining up a third bid in the region of £30m in order to tempt Everton to selling.
Stones signed for Everton from Barnsley for a fee of just £3m in 2013 and his since become one of England hottest prospects, with Mourinho potentially eyeing up as a long term replacement to Stamford Bridge skipper John Terry.