Everton defender John Stones was “never” going to leave the club for Chelsea, according to the club’s chairman Bill Kenwright.
The England international was at the centre of a transfer saga throughout the window, with the Premier League champions making multiple bids for the 21-year-old.
Seemingly against the odds, Stones remained at Everton, who face Chelsea on Saturday, despite handing in a transfer request.
Kenwright, crucial in ensuring the defender stayed with Roberto Martinez’s team, said he never considered selling Stones.
“John Stones is hugely important to this club, of course. He’s the best centre-back in England, surely, and he was never going to leave, never. There was never a moment,” he told The Mirror.
“But don’t forget. They said Luke Garbutt was definitely leaving, wouldn’t sign a new contract. And James McCarthy. We had that where he was definitely going apparently, it wasn’t even a question. Kevin Mirallas, too.
“Yet here we are with the window closed, and they all have new long-term deals. They’re still here and they want to play for Everton. It’s an important point.”
Kenwright said the club’s ability to keep players was a sign of the culture and philosophy that had been developed at Goodison Park.
“The players, they want to be here. They want to play for Everton. That’s why we can keep them,” he said.
“We have a way of working, a philosophy, and the people at the club, they buy into it.”