John Stones has handed in a formal transfer request to Everton as he bids to force through a summer move to Chelsea.
Chelsea have already seen offers of £20 million and £26m rejected for the 21-year-old defender this summer but earlier this month Goal reported that the Premier League champions were confident an improved bid of £30m would be enough to persuade Everton to sell their prized asset.
Stones informed boss Roberto Martinez earlier in the summer that he would like to move to Stamford Bridge and has now made his desire to leave Goodison Park official.
The 21-year-old’s decision comes only a day after West Brom confirmed that they had rejected a similar request from striker Saido Berahino amid persistent interest from Tottenham.
Everton are likely to follow a similar course but despite Martinez’s public insistence that Stones is going nowhere, there is a growing acceptance around Goodison Park that Chelsea will get their man with an offer around the £30m mark.
Jose Mourinho has identified Stones as the perfect long-term replacement for club captain John Terry, whose first-team future is the subject of renewed speculation after his half-time substitution against Manchester City and straight red card for hauling down Salomon Rondon against West Brom on Sunday.
Martinez has expressed his anger on several occasions with Chelsea’s public pursuit of Stones, who has started all three of Everton’s Premier League matches this season despite the uncertainty over his future.
But the pressure on the Merseysiders to accept the departure of one of English football’s brightest young talents will only increase now the player has taken matters into his own hands.