Kurt Zouma's expressed fondness for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho would impress coming from a player on the Blues' roster. Considering the 19-year-old is still with Saint-Etienne, it is also admirable...and a little odd, but it's certainly a good development for the Blues.
Let's take a look at how the young defender feels about Chelsea and the interest Jose Mourinho expressed in him:
Kurt Zouma in L'equipe today: "When Mourinho called me a month ago, I first thought it was a joke! Its a mark of respect and confidence" 1/2— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) January 16, 2014
2/2 "I love Chelsea since I was a boy. I always play with them on Playstation. Blue is my favourite colour. If im told to go there, I will."— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) January 16, 2014
There's more. In an article by Liam Twomey on Goal.com, it's reported that Zouma "claims he has an agreement with his club which will allow him to move on at the end of the season." He adds that Zouma said it would be time to go "elsewhere" in June.
So now we get to the odd part of Zouma's comments and what would make any player's agent cringe. He is limiting his bargaining position by aligning himself so closely with Chelsea.
His agent did what he could to get some bargaining power back:
Zouma, according to Twomey, made sure to note it is not Chelsea or nothing: "Why not a step up in France?"
Still, this is in the same article where Zouma says: "When a great man like Jose Mourinho calls a little player like Kurt Zouma, it’s nice. It doesn't happen every day and it’s a big sign of respect and confidence."
It doesn't take a lot of reading between the lines to deduce that Chelsea is his first choice, and it is admirable that Zouma is so open with his feelings. My guess is that he will find a fair contract with Chelsea and be dressed in blue this coming summer.
That is good news indeed for Chelsea. Zouma is one of the elite young centre-backs in Europe.
As WhoScored.com notes, he has made 11 appearances for Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 play with an average rating of 6.92.
Is Zouma a good fit for Chelsea?
Not that he isn't without youthful mistakes. Like, for instance, a tackle on Sochaux's Thomas Guerbert that saw him not only get a red card, but a 10-match ban from which he has yet to return.
Chelsea currently sit third in the Premier League table, just two points behind leaders Arsenal. Chelsea have allowed 19 goals, which ties them for fewest in the Premier League. So it's not like Mourinho is desperate for defensive help.
With aging stars John Terry and Ashley Cole in the back, the 19-year-old would be a perfect addition for the future of Chelsea, and that looks like an addition that will be not difficult to make.