Roberto Martinez has reinforced Everton’s position on John Stones and insisted the England international will not be sold in January.
Chelsea’s interest in Stones has not subsided since they had four bids rejected in the summer. The 21-year-old handed in a written transfer request in August to force through a move to Stamford Bridge but Everton would not relent and kept him at Goodison Park.
Jose Mourinho remains desperate to bolster his squad, with Stones a prime target, but Barcelona have also been linked with the centre back. Martinez, however, has been quick to snuff out the prospect of his main defender leaving.
That point was also true of the other players who have been linked with moves away from Goodison, notably Romelu Lukaku. Everton’s leading scorer has been linked to Paris St Germain and Juventus but he, like Stones, is not for sale.
Martinez said: ‘From our point of view, the window in January will be to see if there are any opportunities to improve the squad. It is a matter of continuity. It is about developing the best level we can maintain. January is in the middle of the season.