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New Everton deal for Stones no priority for Martinez

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Nov 2015

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Roberto Martinez has refused to be drawn on speculation that Everton defender John Stones could be handed a new contract by the club.

Stones was the subject of multiple bids from Chelsea before the summer deadline closed, but remained at Goodison Park, despite submitting a transfer request.

The England international has once again been a mainstay for the Merseyside club this season, making 12 appearances in all competitions.

Everton are reportedly keen to tie the 21-year-old down to a new contract but Martinez remained guarded when pressed on the subject in his pre-match media conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League meeting with West Ham.

Asked about the reports, Martinez replied: “It’s not the moment to speak about any individuals and that will carry on being the case until there is anything to announce.”

Left-back Leighton Baines has not featured for Everton this season because of an ankle injury, but appears to be nearing a return with Martinez confirming he will take part in a friendly behind closed doors during the international break.

“Leighton, Mo Besic and Tom Cleverley have been training with normality with the first-team squad and that’s a real positive boost,” Martinez added.

“Medically, he’s [Baines] in a fantastic condition.”

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