Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma, who is currently on a season-long loan to Everton, is the latest name to be added to the Arsenal summer transfer shortlist.
The Sun claim that Unai Emery is focused on strengthening his central defence in the summer transfer window. Arsenal have struggled at the back due to injuries and inconsistencies and the manager is keen to improve his options at the back, with Chelsea star Kurt Zouma, who is currently at Everton, the latest to be added to their shortlist.
The report states that Arsenal are keen to move along several stars, including centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, whose recent error-prone performances have cost the Gunners quite a bit in their bid for a top four finish in the Premier League. But, with an expected transfer budget of £40 million without player sales in the summer, Unai Emery is widening his options to reinforce.
Among other expenditures, Arsenal are expected to sign Gabriel Martinelli in a deal expected to be around the £7 million mark and are also prying over the prospect of signing PSG star Christopher Nkunku, who is expected to cost £18 million. This will leave a depleted budget, which despite player sales would not leave Emery with a lot of wiggle room in the transfer market.
Kurt Zouma has had a positive 2018-19 campaign since joining Everton on loan for the season. After an uneventful 2017-18 campaign due to injury, Zouma has shown he can remain fit for extensive periods of time and has recorded 30 appearances in the Premier League itself this campaign while being a key member at the back for Marco Silva.
While Everton are looking for a permanent transfer for Zouma, Chelsea might also be looking to keep the Frenchman at Stamford Bridge if their transfer ban is upheld. Arsenal though, have emerged as another candidate for Zouma ahead of the summer transfer window.
The Gunners have found an able and quality centre-back in summer signing Sokratis. But, the players that were already at the club – Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding – have been unable to impress Unai Emery. While Nacho Monreal has done well in a central role, Emery knows he needs a commanding presence at the back alongside Sokratis to ensure Arsenal stop leaking goals through defensive errors.
Zouma was touted as one of the best up-and-coming defenders before his cruciate ligament rupture. And the 2018-19 campaign is evidence that the Frenchman is able to return to his former potential and consistency.
Arsenal have only added Zouma to the list and are unlikely to continue pursuing the defender if Chelsea place an exorbitant price tag on him. It all depends on Zouma’s and Chelsea’s preference and how the summer pans out for the Blues. Perhaps, Champions League status could also prove to be a key factor in where Zouma plies his trade in the new season.