Everton's Martinez hits out over Chelsea's pursuit of Stones

Everton's John Stones speaks to manager Roberto Martinez.
Everton's John Stones speaks to manager Roberto Martinez.REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Roberto Martinez has criticised Chelsea for apparently going public in their pursuit of defender John Stones and insisted that he will remain an Everton player.

"It's a disappointment to see a club make comments about our player - that is not how we would do it," said Martinez at the post-match press conference after his team's 1-3 loss to Arsenal in the Barclays Asia Trophy on Saturday night.  

British media reported on Friday that a £20 million (S$42.75 million) bid from Chelsea for Stones had been rejected, but the English Premier League champions are expected to return with a higher offer in the coming days.

When asked if he would sell the player if a bigger offer comes in, Martinez said: "Stones is our player and we are not a selling club in that respect."    

Stones had started against Arsenal in the Barclays Asia Trophy final but was unable to prevent his side from falling to the Gunners at the National Stadium.  

Losing Stones, who is touted as arguably the best defensive prospect in the country, would be an unthinkable blow for Martinez.

The 21-year-old, whose contract with the Toffees will expire only in June 2019, was signed from Barnsley in January 2013 for £3 million.

With Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz released earlier this summer, Everton are likely to be searching for defensive reinforcements ahead of the upcoming season.

Martinez had, on Friday, refuted suggestions of a move for Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, after earlier reports that the 27-year-old was set for an £8 million move to Merseyside.  

The club's current centre-back options also include captain Phil Jagielka, Tony Hibbert, Tyias Browning, and Brendan Galloway.