Stones can force his way into Chelsea’s first-team’, claims Everton legend Andy Gray

first_imgEverton legend Andy Gray ruefully expects John Stones to join Chelsea before the close of the transfer window, and believes the young defender can immediately challenge for a first-team spot at Stamford Bridge.Chelsea have been chasing the 21-year-old defender all summer, and have so far had three big-money bids – with the most recent reportedly around £30million – rejected by the Merseyside outfit.Stones has kept his head down throughout the whole saga, continuing to take to the field for the Toffees amid the speculation.But reports emerged on Tuesday that the England international had finally submitted a transfer request, while the Blues are thought to be ‘confident’ of landing him with an increased offer of £40million – which would make Stones the second most expensive defender in history.Former Toffees striker Gray is keen for Stones to remain at Goodison Park, but concedes the opportunity to join the Premier League champions is too good to turn down.Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the Goodison Park hero said: “It’s tough. As an Evertonian, I obviously don’t want him to go, I’d rather he stayed at Everton for another couple of years.“But it’s really difficult for him. He’s been very quiet, he’s gone on and played, he’s done the right thing and gone about it really well.“But now with the transfer request, all that does is just tell everybody that he would like Everton to take the offer, if it’s acceptable, and he would like to move on.“Of course I would like him to stay, but I really do understand that the young lad has an opportunity to play for Chelsea.“But I don’t agree that he might spend the next two years on the bench, I don’t think that will happen. I think he’s good enough to force his way into that team sooner rather than later.“Even if he did spend a year learning about Chelsea, working with John Terry and Gary Cahill and making himself a better player and then coming into the team constantly next season – I can see him doing that.“I can’t see the deal not going through.“It’ll be a really big call from Everton if they turn down another bid, but I think Everton fans will have to get used to the fact that by next Tuesday, John Stones will be a Chelsea player.”last_img read more