Andy Gray believes it is only a matter of time before Chelsea sign John Stones and the Everton legend has backed the defender to secure a place in the Premier League champions' starting line-up "sooner rather than later".
Chelsea have made no secret of their interest in the 21-year-old centre-back, who has shot to prominence with some commanding displays at the heart of the Everton defence since his move from Barnsley in January 2013.
Stones has reportedly submitted a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Stamford Bridge ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline and ex-Everton striker Gray is resigned to the Merseyside club losing the young defender.
"It's tough. As an Evertonian, I obviously don’t want him to go, I'd rather he stayed at Everton for another couple of years" Gray told talkSPORT.
"But it's really difficult for him. He's been very quiet, he's gone on and played, he's done the right thing and gone about it really well.
"But now with the transfer request, all that does is just tell everybody that he would like Everton to take the offer, if it's acceptable, and he would like to move on.
"Of course I would like him to stay, but I really do understand that the young lad has an opportunity to play for Chelsea.
"But I don't agree that he might spend the next two years on the bench, I don't think that will happen. I think he's good enough to force his way into that team sooner rather than later.
"Even if he did spend a year learning about Chelsea, working with John Terry and Gary Cahill and making himself a better player and then coming into the team constantly next season – I can see him doing that.
"I can't see the deal not going through.
"It'll be a really big call from Everton if they turn down another bid, but I think Everton fans will have to get used to the fact that by next Tuesday, John Stones will be a Chelsea player."
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