While rumors claim that Everton are holding out for north of £30m and that Chelsea are willing to go even as high as a record-breaking £34m for John Stones, as far as actual bids are concerned, the only one that's been confirmed has been our opening salvo of £20m. The next one from our end is supposed to be in the region of £26m, though Everton are supposedly ready to reject that outright once again.
As the young defender's valuation threatens to reach even higher into the stratosphere, a rumor-counteroffensive has been launched.
John Stones wants to be given the chance to discuss the possibility of moving to Chelsea with the Premier League champions ready to make a fresh bid to take the centre half to Stamford Bridge.
Sources close to the player say the Everton defender would relish the chance to play Champions League football but he is unlikely to create trouble in the way Raheem Sterling did to force his move from Liverpool.
But the fact that he is now unsettled will give way for Chelsea's second £26m bid, expected imminently.
I imagine Roberto Martinez is once again pretty angry about all this, but it sounds like Stones' agent (who might actually be the one who leaked the original bid instead of Chelsea) is greasing the wheels like any good agent should. While the Mail claim that Stones just wants to "discuss the possibility" of a move, the Standard have gone one step further and claim that Stones is excited about this opportunity and is hoping Everton will consider selling him.
If these reports are to be believed, the 21-year-old's head might have been turned already. Good news for us (though £20m+ seems a bit steep), bad news for Everton.