Everton and England centre-back John Stones remains a top summer target for Chelsea, despite his struggle for form this season.
It is understood incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte wants to make Stones, whose performance in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool intensified the unwanted spotlight on the youngster , his first signing when he arrives at Stamford Bridge.
The 21-year-old was pursued by ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho last summer, but the Premier League giants had three bids – with the third and final offer in excess of £30million – but the Toffees rejected their advances.
And Chelsea, who considered signing Stones from Barnsley before his move to Goodison Park in early 2013, may revive their interest when the summer window opens.
Stones was targeted by the club as a long-term successor to captain John Terry, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
And now Conte appears set to continue the pursuit, which could put Terry’s long-term future at the club in jeopardy.
The 35-year-old is out of contract this summer and revealed in January he would be leaving the Blues, though the London side maintain the offer of a new one-year deal could be on the table before the end of the season and Conte will have a major say.
The Blues sold the Belgium striker for £28m in July 2014 and it has been reported double that fee might be required to prise him from Goodison Park.
And reports on Friday claim owner Roman Abramovich has sanctioned a £90m double move to land both Everton stars in the summer transfer window.