The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential destinations for Kurt Zouma with Chelsea prepared to part ways with the Frenchman for €30 million.
After over seven years as a Chelsea player, Kurt Zouma’s time at Stamford Bridge could be coming to an end this summer, as per journalist Loic Tanzi, who claims that the Blues are looking at a figure of around €30 million for the 26-year-old Frenchman.
Zouma arrived at Chelsea as a youngster with immense potential in 2014 from French club Saint-Etienne. The centre-back became a regular fixture under then-manager Kurt Zouma, briefly keeping club legend John Terry out of the starting XI as well. However, some rash defending, and injuries along the way, meant that he dropped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
After the departure of Mourinho, game-time became hard to come by for Zouma, as a result of which, he was loaned out to Stoke City for the 2017/18 campaign, which was followed by another temporary stint with Everton in 2018/19. The Frenchman did well in the latter spell, forcing Frank Lampard to give him a shot in the 2019/20 term.
Zouma made the most of the chance, becoming a regular for Chelsea once again, although the Frenchman eventually slid down the order of preference again, especially in the last season following the arrival of Thiago Silva. Following the change of managers in January, Zouma’s game-time took a further hit, with Thomas Tuchel preferring Cesar Azpilicueta, Silva and Antonio Rudiger as his options at the back.
With Andreas Christensen also available at the German’s disposal and Chelsea eyeing another central defender this summer, Zouma’s chances of making it back into the starting XI look slim. To that end, the Blues have decided to part ways with the 26-year-old French international, slapping a valuation of €30 million on him. The Hard Tackle now takes a look at three clubs where Zouma could end up this summer.
A club that has recently been linked with a move for Zouma, Tottenham are in need of defensive reinforcements this summer. With new manager Nuno Espirito Santo set to take charge of things, defence is an area where the Lilywhites need to strengthen after what was a disappointing last season.
Toby Alderweireld has reportedly asked the club to sanction an exit this summer, leaving Nuno with an inconsistent Eric Dier as the seniormost option at centre-back, along with Davinson Sanchez, who can be brilliant one day and a liability the next. Joe Rodon arrived last summer from Swansea City but did not get much of a chance.
Even if he did this term, adding another defender with a bit more experience would make sense from Spurs’ perspective. Zouma, to that end, can be someone who they look at. The 26-year-old has made 165 Premier League appearances and is set to enter the peak years of his career as well. He can be a no-nonsense defender that Tottenham need to tighten things up at the back from the next season.
Another club with links to Zouma in terms of him having spent a season on loan with them, Everton could present an interesting proposal for the Frenchman. The Toffees are kickstarting another fresh project under new manager Rafael Benitez, who arrived as a replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, following the Italian’s return to Real Madrid.
And defence is an area where Benitez must look to invest after the Toffees finished the last season with a negative goal difference, having conceded more than they scored. Ben Godfrey has shown promise, as has Mason Holgate, but the question of consistency becomes an issue. Michael Keane has proven to be a solid customer, but Yerry Mina has been a letdown quite often and has been mooted for a summer exit.
His departure would open up a space for the arrival of a new defender. And even though Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet has been linked, the Toffees could be served well by looking at Zouma. He is a player that knows the club and the league well, impressed quite a lot in his stint at Goodison Park and is a popular figure among the fans as well, making him very much a viable target for Benitez & co.
Finally, the club that has been tipped heavily to sign Zouma this summer, AS Roma. The rumours are not surprising, considering that Jose Mourinho, the man who signed the Frenchman at Chelsea and handed him his big break, is now the manager at the Italian capital and is already looking at a defensive rejig.
Chris Smalling endured a difficult 2020/21 campaign and did not make much of an impression on Mourinho during the pair’s time at Manchester United. Federico Fazio has proven to be injury-prone and unreliable as well while Juan Jesus has been released, leaving Roma with Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez as the only reliable options in defence, along with young Marash Kumbulla.
Zouma is a player that Mourinho admires a great deal, and a reunion could benefit both parties, while Chelsea could also stand to gain as there have been speculations of a potential player plus cash deal involving Mancini who could be a good fit at Stamford Bridge. The likeliest to happen among the three clubs, although Roma’s financial problems could mean that Chelsea’s €30 million price tag could be an issue.