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Chelsea intensify chase for Stones

By The Rainbow
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After very little activity in upgrading their championship-defending squad, Chelsea appear poised to make their first big addition. The club is confident they can sign highly regarded John Stones, despite a strained relationship with Everton.

The Blues’ interest in the Everton center back dates back to Oct. 2012, but Chelsea may have reportedly gained ground in their most recent pursuit despite a rejected bid of £20 million earlier this week. ESPN sources reported Chelsea followed up with an offer of £26 million. At the moment, there is no other club competing with Chelsea for Stones’ services, and Everton manager Robert Martinez has not confirmed that the club is willing to part ways with Stones.

Stones is considered a rising star for England, and has been a productive member of the Toffees since arriving at Goodison Park in 2013 on a £3 million deal from Barnsley in Jan. 2013. With John Terry approaching retirement at age 34, and Gary Cahill at age 29, Stones would be seen as a welcomed infusion of youth. The 21-year-old, who also plays right back, might also be a fine pupil to learn under versatile 31-year-old Branislav Ivanovic, who is roughly his same size.

Meanwhile, another defender may also be a target of Jose Mourinho this summer. With Filipe Luis having moved on to La Liga, Chelsea are showing interest in Galatasaray’s Alex Telles, according to The Sun. The 22-year-old Brazilian left back will reportedly garner a £7 million bid. Telles has been praised for his speed and offensive skills after 37 appearances for the Turkish club.

With a crowded midfield, Chelsea may also be considering moving some players on loan to Serie A. Daily Mail reports that Mohamed Salah will be loaned to Roma, while Juan Cuadrado could be on his way to Juventus. The Sun reported that Chelsea are willing to sell Cuadrado for £18 million. The Colombian winger made 12 appearances for the Blues since arriving in February from Fiorentina on a multi-year deal worth upwards of £23 million.

Chelsea are currently taking part in the International Champions Cup, and held off Barcelona after a penalty-kick shootout. On Sunday, Chelsea meet Arsenal in the FA Community Shield. The Blues’ first Premier League match is Aug. 8 against Swansea City at Stamford

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