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'At least six clubs' pursuing John Stones?

A journalist claims that at least six top clubs from across Europe are in the race to sign John Stones from Everton.

At least six of Europe's top sides are in the race to sign Everton starlet John Stones, according to The Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Northcroft.

The 21-year-old defender has been the subject of repeated bids from Chelsea, although the Toffees have rejected every advance, including a rumoured top offer of £45m this window.

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid have also been monitoring the situation but according to Northcroft, interest in Stones extends right across the continent.

"It's an unprecedented situation for an English player to be at the centre of quite so many of the world's top clubs' attention," he told Sky's Sunday Supplement. "He's on Real Madrid's shopping list; though whether they'll be allowed to do transfers in the summer remains to be seen. But he's on their list of targets alongside Robert Lewandowski and David Alaba.

"Barcelona like him, Chelsea have been into him for quite a while now, and Manchester City, who are preparing for Pep Guardiola's arrival, are also making their move for Stones as well. Manchester United and Bayern Munich are in the background as well.

"It's an extraordinary array of choices for a 21-year-old lad. It's going to be very difficult for them [to keep him]. To deny him a move for a second time would be difficult for Stones to take, and maybe some of the other young players in the dressing room."

Stones joined Everton from Barnsley for a reported £3m in January 2013 and has three-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal.

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John Stones sticks his thumbs up during the game between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur on January 3, 2016
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