Martinez coy on Vlaar link, adamant Stones won’t leave

Date published: Thursday 19th November 2015 12:23

Ron Vlaar: Defender a free-agent after leaving Aston Villa

Everton manager Roberto Martinez refuses to rule out a move for Ron Vlaar but insists John Stones will not be sold in January.

Holland international Vlaar is a free-agent after his contract expired at Aston Villa in the summer and is close to recovering from knee surgery, while young starlet Stones has recently been linked with Barcelona and was the subject of a number of bids from Chelsea in the off-season.

“In Ron Vlaar you’re talking about a player who has really good experience in the Premier League, he’s unattached but at the moment it’s not for me to mention any other players not in the squad,” said the Spaniard.

“From our point of view the window in January will be to see if there is anything that could help the squad in place but we don’t look to be really involved in this window, both to buy or sell players.

“Our best players will not be leaving in January – the focus is clearly on trying to be strong together and having real continuity in the group.

Martinez was speaking ahead of the Toffees’ clash with Vlaar’s former club Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday, and he is expecting a tough test from the Premier League’s bottom side, who have had time to adapt to new manager Remi Garde’s methods.

“I went to watch the game when they drew against Manchester City and they were very impressive,” he added.

“The new manager has come in with a very clear idea of the way he wants to see Villa playing and has really good experience of the British game from his time as a player.

“You’re going to see a team based on attacking football and the fighting spirit they had against City is a really good starting point.”

“It’s such an incredible block of fixtures right now – at the start of the season you get periods of a lot of football then the international breaks.

“We’ve gone through this international break with real feelings of satisfaction because we haven’t picked up any injuries and the group look very strong.

“We’re now facing a period of 19 Premier League games and obviously involved in three competitions with the League Cup and the start of the FA Cup before the next international break.”

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