Betting Special: Odds suggest Stones is still set for Chelsea

The 21-year-old’s future has been the subject of plenty of speculation this summer and the prices suggest that the Everton man will finally complete a move to Chelsea this month

The Premier League season may have kicked off at the weekend, but the transfer saga involving the immediate future of Everton defender John Stones is one that looks set to rumble on.

Chelsea have seen two offers rejected as they seek to strengthen their squad by taking the 21-year-old England defender to Stamford Bridge – but a move to west London for Stones still seems likely to happen this summer.

The Blues’ interest in Stones has provoked plenty of ire from Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who is keen to hold onto the centre-back – especially given that the 20-year-old defender is one of just two natural central backs in Everton’s first-team squad.

Martinez has made it clear that he feels that it would be in Stones’ best interests to remain as an Everton player but, with the summer transfer window just weeks away from closing, it seems certain that Mourinho and Chelsea will step up their efforts to get their man in the coming weeks.

The odds compilers, too, believe that the England defender will complete a big-money move to Stamford Bridge this summer, with Paddy Power offering just 4/11 (1.36) that Stones makes Chelsea his next permanent club.

Manchester United, too, have been linked with a move for the Everton star and former England international Rio Ferdinand was amongst those advocating a switch to Old Trafford for the 21-year-old.

However, Paddy Power offer a chunky 5/1 (6.0) that Stones swaps Merseyside for the red half of Manchester, while United’s rivals, Manchester City, can be backed at 8/1 (9.0) to snap up the highly-rated defender from under the nose of Jose Mourinho.

Stones played in 23 of Everton’s 28 Premier League fixtures last term and has already made four appearances for his country and faces a difficult dilemma in deciding whether he wishes to remain at Goodison Park – where he is likely to become a regular first-team fixture – or make a move to Stamford Bridge, where he could well spend the most part of the season as an understudy to John Terry and Gary Cahill.

Mourinho and Martinez will both be determined to have Stones’ undoubted quality at their disposal for the forthcoming campaign and it promises to be a fascinating wrangle between the two managers for one of the country’s brightest prospects.

However, the financial muscle afforded to Chelsea means that the Blues are likely to find themselves in the driving seat and, therefore, the 4/11 (1.36) quote offered up by Paddy Power for Stones to move to Stamford Bridge is likely to land for punters.