NEW YORK • Jose Mourinho has continued his war of words with Roberto Martinez over Chelsea's pursuit of defender John Stones by suggesting that Everton are a "smaller club".
Mourinho took a jibe at the Toffees when he revealed that his "big club" are prepared to pay a British record fee for a defender to take the 21-year-old to Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United last summer made Luke Shaw, 20, the most expensive British defender when they paid Southampton £32 million (S$67.8 million) for the left-back. It was a fee that Mourinho was not willing to fork out.
His belief that a high premium is attached to young English players also prevented Chelsea from bidding for Raheem Sterling, 20, this summer. However, he appears to have no problem with Everton's valuation of Stones.
The Toffees have yet to put a price tag on the centre-back but it is believed that Chelsea will have to fork out about £32 million in order to secure the England player.
"It's a good market," said Mourinho ahead of this morning's (Singapore time) game against New York Red Bulls, the first friendly in Chelsea's tour of North America.
"That is why smaller clubs, if they have interesting young English players, they use that in the right way for them. I don't even criticise them. They play the market for themselves. And if the big clubs don't want to go over certain limits, they have to make a decision. "
Martinez had reacted angrily to the initial bid of £20 million during his club's pre-season tour in Singapore, criticising Chelsea for going public with their interest. The Spaniard also insisted that Stones would be staying at Everton.
But Chelsea centre-half Gary Cahill has urged his England team-mate to leave Everton and enrich his CV in ways which would not be possible at Goodison Park.
Cahill made his name at Bolton Wanderers but won the Champions League in his first season at Chelsea and has since celebrated Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League triumphs.
The 29-year-old believes the time is right for Stones to gear up for the next stage of his career.
"Are Chelsea a hard club to turn down? Yes, of course. In terms of ambition, if you're a young player in the game, have played in the Premier League like he did a lot last year, and a big club comes calling, it's very difficult to turn down because you want to achieve the most you can in the short period you have in your career as a professional footballer," he said.
"When a top club comes calling, whom you know will be firing on all fronts with competitions and medals, that's ultimately what you want to be playing for."
Moreover, the manager is not expected to leave Stamford Bridge any time soon. Mourinho, who is expected to stay at Stamford Bridge till 2019 at the very least, reiterated that his near future is at Chelsea.
Asked if he ever saw himself coaching in the Major League Soccer in the United States, the 52-year told reporters: "One day, not now, for the same reason I say 'one day, not now' for national teams... For the MLS, yes, one day.
"But why not now?
"Because I want to be in the best competitions. I want to be in the Champions League, the Premier League."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE