Everton F.C. midfielder Steven Naismith hopes defender John Stones decides to develop his game at Goodison Park amid ongoing interest from English Premier League champions Chelsea.
According to reports in the English media, Everton have just rejected Chelsea’s second bid for Stones, believed to be in the region of £25 million.
Stones, an England international, is under contract on Merseyside until the summer of 2019, and Naismith is hoping the highly-rated centre-back sees his current deal through.
“There’s no doubt about his quality and as a teammate and as a friend he is a fantastic man and a great prospect,” Naismith told Sky Sports News HQ.
“Everton is a fantastic club for him and they have shown in the past, even with the core group of youngsters that we have at the moment, that there is so much talent here.
“He is learning so fast and, in such a short period of time, he has come from a Barnsley team in the middle of the Championship to playing week in, week out for Everton.
“There are not many young defenders that are as composed and read the game as well as he can. That’s why Everton went out and bought him when it was just young potential and they are reaping the rewards at the moment.”
Stones, 21, scored one goal in 23 league appearances for the Toffees last season.
Everton are priced at 3/1 to achieve a top-six finish in the Premier League in 2015/16.
Caulker joins Southampton
Southampton F.C. have completed the signing of Queens Park Rangers defender Steven Caulker on a season-long loan deal.
Caulker, 23, becomes the Saints’ six summer signing, in a deal reportedly worth over £1 million, following the arrivals of Cedric Soares, Cuco Martina, Jordy Clasie, Juanmi and Maarten Stekelenburg.
“I’m very pleased and very excited. This club has done fantastically well, especially over the last two years,” Caulker told the Saints’ official website.
“To now join this club and to be a part of it for this year is something I’ve proud of.
“As soon as I got the phone call to say a fee was agreed with Southampton, I was delighted to get the opportunity to come and play under a great manager.
“This club is an ambitious one, so to be part of this is a great opportunity – it’s a chance for me to prove myself. I’m very excited for the season ahead.”
Over the past four seasons, Caulker has scored eight goals in 117 Premier League appearances for QPR, Cardiff City, Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City.