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Martinez frustrated by Stones talk

Published 21/08/2015

Everton's John Stones has been the subject of strong interest from Chelsea
Everton's John Stones has been the subject of strong interest from Chelsea

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has tempered talk of John Stones looking to hand in a transfer request and stressed he will not hesitate to select the defender for Sunday's home clash with Manchester City.

After Chelsea had pre-season bids of £20million and £26million for Stones rejected, Everton on Tuesday refused to comment on reports they had turned down a third offer of £30million.

But it was understood the Toffees' stance that the England international is not for sale remained firm, and it has since been reported Stones is on the brink of asking for a move.

However, when asked on Friday if he was aware of that being the situation, Martinez said: ''Not at all, no.''

The Spaniard earlier this month said Stones had been affected by Chelsea's interest, but he subsequently praised the 21-year-old's focus in Everton's opening match of the season against Watford.

Stones impressed both in that 2-2 draw and last Saturday's 3-0 win at Southampton, and Martinez said on Friday he would have no hesitation in picking the centre-back for the team's third fixture of the Barclays Premier League campaign on Sunday.

When asked if a transfer request would change things, the manager said: "It's not an area we need to concentrate on.

"What we need to concentrate on is that in 48 hours, we're going to play the team at the top of the league (City) and that's all that matters."

It was then put to Martinez that a point might be reached where an offer came in from Chelsea that was too good for Everton to refuse and that Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright might intervene.

But Martinez said: "There's no such situation.

"If you want to go on (talking about Stones), I can understand. But I don't think it's healthy for anyone when you have the window open after the season starts, because the discussion we are having now is wrong.

"We should be talking about the game at the weekend. We should be talking about how well we performed against Southampton.

"But the only thing you are asking me about is about an individual. That is so wrong."

Reports have also suggested Everton are in talks over a move for Dynamo Kiev's Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko, while simultaneously pursuing a deal for River Plate's Argentina defender Ramiro Funes Mori.

It is understood the Funes Mori signing could be completed imminently.

And, while not being drawn on specific names, Martinez said: "We are trying to work as hard as we can to make a couple of new additions to the squad."

Midfielders Muhamed Besic and Kevin Mirallas could play on Sunday after being unused substitutes in the Southampton game following hamstring and ankle problems respectively.

Winger Aiden McGeady is also available having recovered from a hamstring complaint.

Steven Pienaar (hamstring), Darron Gibson (foot), Tony Hibbert (knee) and Leighton Baines (ankle) remain sidelined.

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