Chelsea Transfer News: Kurt Zouma the Intimidating Defender Jose Mourinho Needs

Michael WadeAnalyst IIIJanuary 16, 2014

Kurt Zouma is rated highly across Europe.
Kurt Zouma is rated highly across Europe.Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kurt Zouma is reportedly close to a move to Chelsea after his agent confirmed talks with an English club.

As reported by Jamie Sanderson in the Metro, Saint Etienne defender Zouma has been tracked by Chelsea for around 18 months.

Zouma's agent Alexandre Bonnefond has talked up the potential for his client moving clubs:

"Some big clubs are interested in signing Kurt," he said.

"There are some talks with teams from Italy, France and especially England."

John Terry, 33, has been the defensive mainstay of Chelsea this season, with Gary Cahill well-placed to pick up the mantle when Jose Mourinho judges Terry too old to compete at the top level anymore, per Jeremy Wilson at the Telegraph.

Although Chelsea also have Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz in their squad, both have been used regularly in other positions, and Mourinho doesn't see either as a long-term replacement for Terry.

At 19 years old, Zouma would arrive at Chelsea and likely not be thrown straight into the first team. Instead he would be eased into action and urged to learn from the likes of Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic before gradually being phased in.

John Terry has been a defensive rock for Chelsea this season.
John Terry has been a defensive rock for Chelsea this season.Julian Finney/Getty Images

His arrival would continue the gradual reshaping of Chelsea's squad which has taken place in the last 18 months with younger players being introduced to replace the ageing stars who have performed so well over the last decade.

Marco van Ginkel, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Andre Schurrle are among the names to have been added to the first-team squad, while Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Wallace and Bertrand Traore have all been loaned out to continue their development.

Zouma is in demand, with Newcastle, per Dean Jones at the Mirror, also linked to the player, and, as reported by Jamie Clark at Soccerlens, France coach Didier Deschamps claiming the defender can be a future Les Bleus is not hard to understand why.

France coach Didier Deschamps is a fan of Kurt Zouma's ability.
France coach Didier Deschamps is a fan of Kurt Zouma's ability.Buda Mendes/Getty Images

As Tim Simon reports for FourFourTwo, Zouma's physique is a major attribute, but he is also an expert at reading the game and is strong in the air.

He's already made 102 clearances in his first 11 appearances this season and won a healthy 80% of his headed duels - and is one of the quickest defenders in Ligue 1.

The young Frenchman is an accurate passer of the ball too, completing 86% of his efforts so far this season.

Zouma could be just the defensive colossus that Chelsea need to help ensure a bright future for years to come.