John Stones ‘won’t be fazed’ by a move to the defending Premier League champions, according to the Barnsley Academy coach that trained him when he was younger, Ronnie Branson.
Speaking to the BBC World Service Branson, who coached Stones from the age of 8, said, “He’s done well at Everton and got into the England first team. Every step he’s taken, he’s managed it well, so going there won’t faze him”.
Despite Roberto Martinez’s continued denial of the likelihood of a move for the talented defender it now seems likely that Chelsea will get their man before the transfer window slams shut at the start of next month. Stones made 23 appearances in the league for Everton last season and has been capped 4 times. He has four years left on his contract, meaning that the Londoners will need to make an offer their Merseyside rivals can’t refuse if they hope to tempt them into selling.
Stones handed in a transfer request on Tuesday as he attempted to force through a move to Jose Mourinho’s team, with Chelsea planning a £40 million bid in the coming days. He is seen as the long term replacement for John Terry, something that has become more urgent in recent weeks with Terry being substituted during Chelsea’s game against Manchester City and then sent off when the Blues played West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
Branson said, “He’s a real defender. There is a lot of talk at the moment about whether he is a good defender. We all know he can step in and get the ball and set attacks off but can he defend? Yes he can. He has a steeliness that people don’t realise”.
Everton have so far refused to admit that they have even received a transfer request from the Premier League champions and they are unlikely to do so. If they accept the transfer request then they are essentially accepting that Stones will be leaving and that will put the power into Chelsea’s hands. For now Everton will likely keep their cards close to their chest and that will force the potential buyers to up their offer until the Toffees can no longer refuse their offers.