CHELSEA TO UP STONES OFFER
Chelsea are preparing a second bid of £26million for Everton defender John Stones, according to widespread reports on Saturday morning.
The Premier League champions saw an initial £20million bid rebuffed by the Toffees on Friday, but that is unlikely to dissuade Chelsea, who have been quiet in the transfer market so far.
According to reports, so keen is Jose Mourinho to bring the England defender to Stamford Bridge, that he is prepared to break the British transfer record for a defender – the £29.1million Man United paid Leeds for Rio Ferdinand in 2002.
Everton seem determined to hang on to the former Barnsley youngster, but may find it hard to resist a bid of £30million.
And Stones himself certainly seems happy to stay at Goodison, telling a fans event in Singapore on Thursday night: “My aim going into the season is to try to nail down a regular spot in this Everton team and hopefully that will take care of playing for England as well.
“I want to keep learning from the likes of Phil Jagielka and keep progressing at this club.”
Stones signed a new five-year contract at Everton last season.
UNITED TO SIGN £1M WHIZZKID
Man United are set to beat Swansea to the £1million signing of Barnsley whizzkid Mason Holgate, claims the Daily Star.
Full-back Holgate, 18, has impressed United coaches in a three-day trial at Carrington.
Swansea were interested in plotting their own swoop for the teen star, who is out of contract next year.
But United have won the race to snap him up and will reportedly complete the signing this weekend.
Holgate will be Louis van Gaal’s fifth signing of the summer following deals for Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Matteo Darmian.
Holgate will train in the youth set-up at Old Trafford as he bids to earn a first-team chance.
The youngster made his Barnsley debut last season and played 20 times for the club.
SAINTS CLOSE ON DEAL FOR VLAAR
Southampton are edging towards a deal for out-of-contract Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar.
The Daily Express claims Saints are favourites to land the Dutch defender after Lazio withdrew from a move over medical concerns.
The loss of Vlaar, albeit not unexpected, will come as another blow to Tim Sherwood.
Saints, however, may want to heed reports in Italy which claim Lazio pulled out over the centre-half’s fitness concerns.
Italian publication Calcio Mercato Web quote a Lazio spokesman as saying: “Vlaar? It’s a player who has been proposed, but from what we heard has physical problems and therefore we do not take him into account.”
AND THE REST
– Manchester United are set to make a move for Barcelona forward Pedro, who has also been linked with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool (Daily Express)
– Sunderland are set to beat Arsenal and Liverpool to the signature of Bayer Leverkusen star Hakan Calhanoglu (Daily Express)
– Watford are in talks with AZ Alkmaar over a £3.25m move for winger Steven Berghuis (Daily Mail)
– Arsene Wenger hopes Yaya Sanogo can begin to flourish at Ajax under the tutelage of Gunners greats Marc Overmars and Dennis Bergkamp (Daily Mail)
– Paul Pogba’s agent claims the midfielder will join Barcelona if Joan Laporta wins the club’s presidential election, which takes place on Friday (The Sun)
– Bournemouth want to sign former England midfielder Scott Parker (The Sun)
– Robbie Brady’s £7m Norwich move is on after he snubbed a new Hull deal (The Sun)
– Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster fears he could miss all of this season as he overcomes an horrific knee injury (The Sun)
– Fabian Delph’s decision to join Manchester City has provoked anger from Aston Villa fans a week after he said he was committed to staying at the Midlands club (Daily Mirror)
– Newcastle are set to miss out on Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic after Porto matched their £12.5m offer. The Toon may try to add defender Chancel Mbemba to their deal to try and better the Portuguese side (Daily Mirrror)
– West Brom are looking at Arsenal youngster Serge Gnabry as a possible target for a season-long loan move (Daily Mirror)
– Liverpool’s move for Christian Benteke has been forced because boss Brendan Rodgers cannot rely on the fitness of star striker Daniel Sturridge (Daily Mirror)
– QPR are set to sign Dutch midfielder Tjaronn Chery from FC Groningen (Daily Mirror)
– As well as Porto, Chelsea are keeping an eye on Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic as Jose Mourinho looks to add to his forward options (Daily Star)
– Bournemouth have launched a £3.5m bid for Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray amid fears they will lose Callum Wilson (Daily Star)