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Suddenly, everyone's interested in John Stones

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

A couple weeks ago, Everton warned Chelsea that they would reject any bid under £30m for young overhyped and overpriced center back John Stones.  Chelsea bid £20m, then £25-26m.  Unsurprisingly, Everton rejected both bids.  Men of their words.

Everton have now twice rejected us quite categorically.  But it would appear that all that has gotten them is more interest in the 21-year-old.  We had already known that Manchester United started poking around over the last few days, but now their cross-town rivals Manchester City have apparently joined the race as well.

Which sort of raises the question, just who's leaking what right now?  This whole mini-saga kicked off when Everton accused Chelsea of leaking the initial rejected bid, but there's a good chance it was Stones' agent who went to the media instead (which would explain both Roberto Martinez's anger and Jose Mourinho's apparent obliviousness).  Further reports then claimed that our next bid would be around £26m and that Everton would reject that as well.  Sure enough, that's exactly just what happened yesterday.

As we creep towards the already predicted finish line in the mid-30s, who stands to gain from the added interest?  Is Mr. Agent agitating for a move?  Are Chelsea hoping to scare Everton into selling?  Are Everton trying to start a bidding war behind the scenes?  Or is the interest genuine from the two Manchesters?  Neither United nor City have been averse at all to splashing the cash this summer...

Either way, this party's just getting started.

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