Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has emerged as a summer loan target for fellow Premier League side for Crystal Palace.
According to a report in The Mirror, the Eagles are keeping a close watch on Zouma’s situation at the club and will make a move for the Frenchman, if they feel that there is a possibility that he could move away from SW6 this transfer window.
Zouma recently stated that he was happy at Chelsea and wanted to stay and fight for his place in the starting XI, but Palace will try and take him on loan for the upcoming season, if they get any positive signs signalling his availability from either the club or Zouma himself.
The 22-year-old recently told France Football: “I am very happy at Chelsea. My main goal is to stay at Chelsea,”he said, before adding “Next season we will start from scratch and there will be many more matches. The cards will be back on the table and it’s up to me to do the job.
There has been speculation surrounding his future due to the lack of game time he received last season, in response to that, he said: “I have heard the rumours and it’s flattering as it means I am being watched. But I am not going to stop [with my Chelsea career] here.”
Zouma featured only 13 times for the Blues last season, starting only 4 of those games across competitions. It was a season mainly focused on recovering from the horrific injury he suffered in February in 2016, and it took him 11 months to finally return to first team action.
The former St.Etienne centerback was never expected to break into Antonio Conte’s squad immediately after his return to fitness last season and there were doubts about whether he would ever go on to fulfill his early promise, that led Chelsea to pay around £12 million for him in 2014.
Crystal Palace aren’t the only club to have been linked with ‘Happy’, as he is popularly known. Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United were linked with him earlier this year, as were Serie A side AS Roma and Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais.
In the upcoming season however, with the new 3-man-defence in place, their return to the UEFA Champions League and John Terry’s departure, the Frenchman will certainly get more opportunities to showcase his skills to Antonio Conte and get his career back on track.
His injury ruled him out of France’s 2016 European Championship campaign and he would certainly not want to miss out on being in his nation’s World Cup squad and for that, he will need to feature regularly for Chelsea – something that may not be likely.
David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta all had superb seasons at the club and Andreas Christensen is also back in the picture, having spent 2 successful years at Borussia Monchengladbach in which he established himself as Europe’s best young centerbacks.
So needles to say, competition for places will be high at Chelsea, not a problem he would likely have at Crystal Palace. Zouma could easily walk into Frank de Boer’s starting XI at this point and while it is admirable that he wants to stay at Chelsea and prove himself, it may prove eventually to be a costly decision during this time next summer.