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Everton’s Roberto Martínez admits Chelsea bids have affected John Stones

Everton manager Roberto Martínez admits John Stones has been affected by interest from Chelsea but has emphasised once again that the Merseyside club are not looking to sell their best players.

There has been talk of Chelsea preparing a third bid for England defender Stones after so far having £20m and £26m offers rejected by Everton this summer.

And asked on Thursday whether the situation had affected the 21-year-old, Martínez said: “Yes, and it is something where you hope you learn from it and you get more mature and those experiences are good experiences.

“Clearly John is one of the outstanding young talents that we have in the squad and you are going to get that sort of interest from the outside. John is an Everton player and there is nothing else to comment on that.”

When asked about the prospect of Chelsea coming back with an improved offer, Martínez said: “You shouldn’t worry about situations you cannot affect or control.

“I said from the beginning – when you are not a club that is trying actively to sell players, the focus is just to try to be as good as we can at the weekend and see how ready we are individually and as a team. Everything else is stuff that does not bother me now at all.”

Martínez expects Stones and the winger Kevin Mirallas to be available for the opener against Watford despite the pair picking up ankle knocks in last Sunday’s friendly against Villarreal.

But Gerard Deulofeu is a doubt due to a hamstring problem while the striker Romelu Lukaku, who has had a hamstring issue of his own, will be assessed over the next 48 hours but Tony Hibbert, Steven Pienaar, Darron Gibson, Muhamed Besic and Aiden McGeady all miss out due to injury.

Martínez has indicated he would like to make three more new signings before the transfer window closes.

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Deulofeu and Tom Cleverley have already arrived and a loan deal for the teenage River Plate midfielder Tomas Andrade looks set to be wrapped up soon. “He is a young man with a terrific talent who is already with us,” Martínez said of Andrade. “Hopefully we are going to agree a loan to allow him to get used to the British game. He is one for the future, not for the first team straight away.”


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