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Chelsea target’s Euro 2016 focus could see their pursuit fail

| 19.11.2015

Chelsea’s failure to sign John Stones over the summer became the biggest transfer not to happen. His non arrival is one of a number of factors contributing to the Blues’ catastrophic start to their Premier League defence.

With Jose Mourinho’s side languishing in 16th place after losing seven of their opening 12 top flight games, another move for Stones during January’s shopping season looked to be on the cards.

However, such ambitions appear short lived as the Daily Mirror report that the central defender is unwilling to move clubs mid-season.

Despite the numerous bids Chelsea lodged for the former Barnsely man in the off season, the Toffees held firm. It’s a tactic that appears to have paid off, with Stones settled into the Goodison Park first team again and focussed on sealing a starting spot in Roy Hodgson’s England side for Euro 2016.

It means the Blues have to either find a new defensive target over the coming months or wait until the end of the current campaign to land their man.

By then the team could have been decimated. A number of media outlets believe Mourinho will look to ship out underperforming stars in January in a desperate bid to claw back some credibility in their season.

Whether that works or not, it’s unlikely that the club will be playing Champions League football next term, despite Ladbrokes rating it at 7/2. And by next summer Chelsea may not even be the only suitors for Stones’ signature either.

Barcelona are already touted as being interested in the 21-year-old, who could attract a number of other big European clubs should he put in a strong performance at Euro 2016.

Having started the recent friendly against France and impressing, there’s every chance the Everton man could play a leading role for Hodgson across the channel at the end of the campaign.

Should that be the case, his decision to rebuff the Blues this term will have been wholly justified.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.