Chelsea are set to suffer a new blow in their hopes to bolster their defence after Spanish newspaper Marca claimed Jose Mourinho's target Aymen Abdennour has joined Valencia. The Blues had reportedly identified the Monaco centre-back as an alternative to John Stones amid Everton's refusal to negotiate the departure of the England international.
Mourinho has earmarked the signing of a long-term replacement for John Terry as a top priority to continue his summer overhaul, after the arrivals of all Radamel Falcao, Asmir Begovic, Pedro, Abdul Baba Rahman and young trio Nathan, Kenedy and Danilo Pantic. Stones looked the main candidate to make the move to Stamford Bridger after the 21-year-old England international handed in a transfer request to leave Goodison Park earlier this week.
However, the Telegraph recently claimed that Mourinho was set to turn his attention to other targets after Everton boss Roberto Martinez insisted the club are not going to let his starlet to leave at any price. The reports said that the Blues were indeed ready to activate a plan B during the weekend with Abdennour leading the list of alternatives alongside Argentinian international Ezequiel Garay.
But it looks that Mourinho is also set to miss the battle for Abdennour after Marca assure that the Monaco star has agreed to join Valencia instead. The La Liga club have recently signed centre-back Aderlan Santos as a prospect for the future but the Spanish publication claim that they have also decided to also secure the services of Abdennour to cover the departure of Nicolas Otamendi to Manchester City.
Meanwhile, Everton midfielder Gareth Barry has urged his teammates Stones and Ross Barkley to snub a move away from Goodison Park to continue his development under Martinez.
"Everton – for Ross and John – is a fantastic club, they've got a great manager here and they're still young," he said as quoted by Sky Sports. "They've not reached the levels that they can reach, and they're at a perfect club to be learning that. There's no reason to go elsewhere at the moment. Just keep improving year by year and take it from there.
"It's always a difficult situation, the money that's being thrown around like that. John will have had a lot of people in his ear, saying 'do this, do that', but ultimately it's always the person's decision."