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Martinez praises Kenwright for keeping Stones at Everton

Everton's Phil Jagielka and John Stones in action against Barnsley in the Capital One Cup at Oakwell during the week
Picture: PA
Liam Blackburn

EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright has been hailed by Roberto Martinez for maintaining a strong stance over Chelsea target John Stones.

On Thursday, Kenwright declared Stones' attempt to force through a move to Stamford Bridge via a transfer request would not be considered. The Toffees have remained steadfast in their belief that Stones - who will start against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday - would not be sold and it is understood Jose Mourinho's side may now be prepared to call time on their pursuit of the 21-year-old ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline.

Martinez, who denied the club had rejected a reported fourth bid worth £37million, believes his club's attitude to keeping Stones on board epitomises the values those in the corridors of power at Goodison Park hold.

"The chairman was really strong yesterday; he's put things very, very clear," said the Spaniard, who also also announced the signing of South American striker Leandro Rodriguez on Friday.

"It's vitally important to show that we have got our own ambitions and our own projects and we don't rely on big offers coming in. The chairman was very, very clear yesterday. Many, many football clubs would have tried to get the biggest deal they could do and take the money and allow the sale to happen.

"It shows we've got an incredible chairman and all he wants is the best for the football club, he's being doing that for many, many years and hasn't been given the credit he deserves. Every single Evertonian can be extremely proud to keep one of our most treasured younger players and make sure we build a winning team.

"It seems like money can buy anything these days and, clearly, what we stand for at Everton is more important values - in football and in life - that they are more important than money."

News of Stones submitting a transfer request emerged before the Toffees' midweek clash with Barnsley, where the defender was jeered by some away supporters on his return to Oakwell. Martinez understood why those emotions had been expressed by certain sections of the fanbase, but believes it is important that those of an Everton persuasion now rally around Stones.

"Of course, the fans at one point thought they were going to lose one of the most-loved assets at our football club and the emotions are going to be high and full of feelings that you're going to show," Martinez added.

"John knows where he is; the fans, they are going to play an incredible role in helping John to settle in and to get back to being fully focused on winning football games for Everton."

Martinez is confident Stones has the mental strength to play in the Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham this weekend, and he could soon have some competition at the back. Argentina international Funes Mori, 24, may complete a switch to Goodison Park over the weekend, while Martinez also confirmed the deal for young Uruguayan forward Rodriguez.

"Ramiro was in the building yesterday, we hope that we're going to complete the deal sometime today," the Everton boss said.

"We're very excited about the possibility of having Ramiro Funes Mori with us later today or in the days to come. We're very confident that Ramiro could become an Everton player very soon."

On Rodriguez, Martinez added: "Leandro is one of those young players that we have identified to give them a path and allow them to develop in our system.

"We're very excited; he's someone who can produce a goal out of nothing, is hard working with really strong combination play.

"He's already had experience at his club in Uruguay and his goal-scoring record is quite impressive for a young man at 22. We hope we can give him the environment, with Mason Holgate and other youngsters that we feel very, very strong about." 

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