Chelsea are set to make a fifth attempt for Everton defender John Stones in January when the transfer window resumes. Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of the player and has earmarked the 21-year-old as a long term replacement for John Terry, who has not been at his best since the start of the season.
According to the Mirror, Mourinho is willing to bid close to £40m ($61m) to prise his man as the Blues look to make a comeback from what has been a poor start to their title defence campaign this season. The defending champions have only four points from their first four games and find themselves eight points behind Manchester City, who have won all the games played so far, including one against the Blues.
The central defence has been earmarked as a potential loophole for the Blues, with Terry unable to replicate his performance from last season and has already been sent off once against West Bromwich Albion where they scraped to a win on the back of a goal and an assist from new signing Pedro. Meanwhile, Stones has gone from strength to strength and started in England's 6-0 mauling of San Marino in the qualifiers for the European Championships scheduled in France next summer.
Manchester United are also interested in the player and Van Gaal may choose to challenge Chelsea for his signing in January, if they are found to be short at the back. The Dutchman had tried his best to sign Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid, but the Spaniard decided to remain at Spain where he has signed a new contract.
Meanwhile, right-back Branislav Ivanovic is likely to make his way out of the club next summer, with the Blues showing now intentions of extending his contract, which expires in 2016. The Serbian has been a weak link at the back thus far for the Blues and is likely to give way to new signing Abdul Baba Rahman who has made his way to Stamford Bridge from Bundesliga club Augsburg.