Manchester United are reportedly in negotiations with Chelsea over a move for Kurt Zouma as they search for defensive reinforcements before the close of the Premier League transfer window on Thursday.
The Red Devils want the centre-back on a permanent deal, but the Blues do not want to strengthen a title rival, according to L'Equipe (h/t Sport Witness).
Everton are also said to be interested and would be willing to sign the 23-year-old on loan, per the report.
United have been linked with Yerry Mina, Toby Alderweireld and Jerome Boateng. However, the club will only sign a defender if clubs and agents lower their demands, according to ESPN FC's Rob Dawson.
Marca's Chris Winterburn offered his view:
Zouma joined Chelsea in 2014 from French side Saint-Etienne and is regarded as a highly-promising young defender. He has never managed to command a regular place in the Chelsea side, although his career was interrupted by a serious knee injury suffered in 2016.
He agreed a new six-year deal with Chelsea last summer before joining Stoke City on loan. Zouma made 34 appearances for the Potters but could not prevent them being relegated from the Premier League.
Matt Law at the Daily Telegraph said a move to Everton would be his best option:
The Toffees have turned to Zouma after becoming frustrated in their attempts to sign Mina and Marco Rojo, according to Goal's Nizaar Kinsella.
Journalist Greg O'Keeffe is not too impressed with Zouma:
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said his team face a "difficult season" if they do not strengthen, per MUTV (h/t BBC Sport).
The club have plenty of defenders with Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Rojo, but Mourinho is yet to settle on a regular centre-back pairing.
While Zouma has plenty of potential, he still lacks top-level experience, and it's not obvious that he's a significant upgrade on the club's current options.
Chelsea's decision to award him a long-term contract shows their faith in the 23-year-old, but he faces a battle for regular football at Stamford Bridge this season with David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, and Antonio Rudiger all in the squad.