LIVERPOOL — Roberto Martinez is adamant Everton will keep John Stones out of Chelsea’s clutches and believes the England international will still be at Goodison Park when the transfer window shuts.
“Of course, yes,” said the Everton manager in a news conference, as he suggested the forthcoming signing of Ramiro Funes Mori will not lead to the sale of Stones.
Chelsea have submitted bids of £20 million, £26 million and £30 million for the 21-year-old and may return with a higher offer.
But Martinez, who has always insisted Stones is not for sale, believes the saga has not affected the former Barnsley player’s focus and congratulated the centre-back for his performance in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.
“He puts a smile on your face when you see a player like John Stones defending the way he defends,” he added. “He is an incredible footballer and to be able to organise things at such a young age it shows what a talented footballer he is.”
Funes Mori was at Goodison Park and is set to finalise a £6 million move from River Plate in what Martinez hopes will be the first of three signings in the last week of the window.
“He won the Copa Libertadores,” Martinez said. “He is 24, a left-footed centre-half and will fit into our squad really well and bring a winning mentality.”
Martinez refused to discuss the Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko but confirmed he hopes that one of his signings will be a No. 10.
“We are looking for a player in that position,” he said. “I expect to complete three signings.”
The Spaniard declined to blame United States goalkeeper Tim Howard for City’s first goal on Sunday, when he was beaten at his near post by Aleksandar Kolarov, and instead focused on the saves the veteran made from Sergio Aguero.
“I am very disappointed how we gave the ball away,” he explained. “We didn’t want [David] Silva to have time to turn and that allowed [Raheem] Sterling and Kolarov [to combine]. Maybe the goalkeeper can rescue it but the mistake is to allow Manchester City to have that counter-attack. I thought Tim overall was special. He had four or five saves when he was at his best.”
Martinez also praised the officials for denying his striker Romelu Lukaku a first-half goal when he was ruled offside.
“An outstanding decision but a correct one,” he said.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.