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Bidding war a-brewing as Barcelona join Chelsea and Manchester United in the battle for John Stones

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There are a few certainties in life.  Death, taxes, Jose Mourinho saying something silly and outrageous.  Oh, and Chelsea bidding for John Stones in January.  That latter bit certainly seems to be an expected outcome, despite (or perhaps exactly because of) all the drama that went on in the summer.  (By the way, wasn't Stones supposed to get rewarded with a new contract by Everton for all his loyalty?  Whatever happened to that?)

But, as if Chelsea's task wasn't difficult enough already, it would appear that we have another challenger in the arena and it's a somewhat surprising one.  According to the Telegraph, Barcelona have joined the Blues (and previous potential bidders Manchester United as well) in believing that money can buy them Stones, regardless of what Roberto Martinez may or may not be singing in the shower.

Barcelona's "interest" may be evidenced by (or based on) Gerard Pique's recent public adoration of the 21-year-old — "one of a new generation who understand football not just as a defender" — but apparently their scouts were ready to watch the defender in action against Spain on Friday.  Stones didn't play then, but he did his reputation no harm with an assured display against France on Tuesday.

Either way, the most hyped center back of this young England generation probably won't be at Everton much longer.  In the summer, £30m+ couldn't get it done.  Just how much higher will the price go, and which will be the desperate club to end up paying that?  Stay tuned.