Everton defender John Stones has handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Chelsea.
After three failed bids — the last in excess of £30m (€41m)— from the Stamford Bridge club, the England international has now taken matters into his own hands and formally expressed his desire to leave.
Everton have been resolute in their determination to hang on to the highly-rated 21-year-old and manager Roberto Martinez has insisted throughout the saga the centre-back is not for sale.
Martinez, who is becoming increasingly weary of having to field questions about Stones, refused to even discuss what the club’s response would be should the player hand in a transfer request when he was asked about it yesterday.
“There is nothing to comment on that,” he said. “Once more, it is always the same question and always the same answer. There is nothing to announce or discuss.”
Having so far steadfastly, robustly rebuffed Chelsea’s approaches for Stones, who joined from Barnsley for £3m (€4.1m) in January 2013, Everton now find themselves in something of a predicament.
Sanctioning a departure now would undermine their previous apparent show of strength in insisting the player, who has four years remaining on his contract, is not for sale.
It would also leave them with just one senior centre-back — captain Phil Jagielka — having allowed Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz to depart in the summer, and with just a week left of the transfer window there is hardly any time to find a replacement of equal standing.
However, if Everton refuse to budge then Martinez will be left having to manage an unhappy player, one of his first-choice centre-backs and a cornerstone of the defence, until at least January when the window opens again.
In other transfer news, West Brom have rejected a second bid from Tottenham for Saido Berahino.
The Baggies are standing firm over the striker’s future after they turned down a transfer request from him on Monday.
Spurs are yet to get close to Albion’s valuation of the England U21 striker with a reported bid of £22m (€30m) wide of the mark.
West Brom confirmed the second bid yesterday, ahead of the Capital One Cup visit of Port Vale and Albion chairman Jeremy Peace said in a statement: “Our position remains unchanged. The sale of this player is not on our agenda.”
Spurs made their opening offer lastweek and were met with a firm refusal from the Baggies before the 22-year-old officially asked to leave on Monday.
Berahino was dropped from the squad which lost 3-2 against Chelsea on Sunday after boss Tony Pulis felt he was not in the right frame of mind to play.
Elsewhere, Juan Cuadrado has joined Juventus on a season-long loan from Chelsea, both clubs have confirmed.
The 27-year-old Colombia forward returns to Serie A seven months after moving to Chelsea from Fiorentina.
Cuadrado moved to Stamford Bridge in February, but made a limited impact as the Blues won the Capital One Cup and Premier League.
Chelsea have also confirmed German Marko Marin had joined Turkish side Trabzonspor on a season-long loan, with an option to purchase.
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