Everton boss Roberto Martinez insists the Merseyside club are big enough to prevent Chelsea from buying England defender John Stones.
The Spaniard has been forced to comment on the matter after weeks of speculation linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge, but Martinez says Stones has not become unsettled by the speculation.
21-year-old Stones delivered a typically assured display as the Toffees fell to a 2-1 defeat to Villarreal and the Everton boss believes his club are capable of keeping hold of him this season.
He told the Daily Mirror: “We feel that we are a big club. You’re going to get clubs that are working with big budgets because they have been working in the Champions League but we are a club with nine league titles, the history and you seen today we celebrated a special memory.
“We are a big club. What we want is to build and what we want to do is concentrate on the future and we are not a selling club by all means. I don’t see anything apart from I love the players I have in the squad and I understand others keep an eye on it and that is a healthy sign.
“The current situation with John is as you would expect. He is one of the most talented centre backs in European football not just in England and we are really, really feel we have a special footballer with us.
“We have a group of young players with the potential to be as good as they can and I think he is one of those.
“Clearly he is a player that we admire, clearly that is going to be the same in other clubs. They are going to be admiring his ability and what he is as a footballer but he is an Everton player and as you can imagine he is a big part of what we are trying to achieve in the future.”
Wayne Rooney back at Everton
Wayne Rooney back at Everton
Rooney warms up
Duncan Ferguson waves to the crowd as Rooney warms up
The Manchester United and England captain prepares to enter the fray
Rooney on the ball in Blue
Rooney takes a corner in his old No 18 shirt
Rooney and Ferguson embrace at the final whistle
Martinez is keen to remind any suitors that Stones is settled at Goodison Park and happy to play for a club who gave him the opportunity to make his England debut at such a young age.
“Remember John is a young man who has lived incredible experiences already in two years but he is still a young man that he wants to take responsibility,” said Martinez.
“He is in a very good moment of his career, he has four years left [on his contract]. Every experience is a good experience in order to mature. On the outside it seems turmoil and many things happening but internally John comes in and trains and needs to try earn his place and keep improving, keep taking responsibility in the group and nothing else.
“There is nothing to discuss, he is not a player that is out of contract in ten months, he is not a player we don’t want, he is a player that has a fantastic future with us and there is nothing to comment because teams putting bids in that doesn’t mean anything.”Reuse content