Chelsea will have to break the transfer record for an English defender if the club is to have any chance of signing Everton defender John Stones, according to reports.
Stones has been linked with a move to the Premier League champions in recent weeks, and reports suggest the Blues had a cheeky £20m bid for the England international turned down this week.
According to The Sun, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho believes the fee required to land Stones would surpass the £33m Manchester United paid for Southampton left-back Luke Shaw.
“That is the market now,” Mourinho is quoted as saying by The Sun.
“The market has no rules or limits from season to season.
“You only pay it if you want. If you don’t want to pay it, don’t pay. It’s as simple as that.”
Stones has impressed for the Toffees since joining the club from Barnsley for a reported £3m fee in January 2013.
The Sun claims Chelsea will return with an increased £25m bid, but that is expected to be flatly rejected with Roberto Martinez hoping to keep hold of one of the club’s most prized assets.