This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Speaking to the club’s official website, Kurt Zouma has insisted that he could be a key figure under Frank Lampard next season, despite competition for places at Chelsea.
Reports in recent weeks had suggested that Zouma could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge on a permanent deal this summer, and that Premier League rivals Everton were interested in bringing him back to Goodison Park following a loan spell last season.
However, the 24-year-old has seemingly put those rumours to bed after insisting that he is keen to showcase his abilities in pre-season and vindicate Lampard’s faith in him.
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He said: “There is a lot of talk but I’m a Chelsea player and the most important thing is to work, play well in pre-season and take my chances.
“We had a chat and he’s been very good with me so now I just need to work very hard in pre-season and see what happens. The manager can put any player in the team and they will do well because we have a lot of quality here so he has to make the choice. He is very lucky because he has only good players so it’s a hard choice.”
When Chelsea signed a 19-year-old Zouma from French side St Etienne in a £12m deal back in January 2014, it was regarded as a major coup for the Blues.
Indeed, speaking after the move was announced, then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said: “He is a young player for a position where we also need the future. He’s a player with big potential, physically ready. One thing is to be physically ready, another thing is to be tactically ready. Well done Chelsea.”
Since then however, Zouma has struggled to really make his mark at Stamford Bridge and has spent the last two seasons out on loan to Stoke and Everton.
The centre-back has shown flashes of potential in his time in English football, and after a particularly impressive start to life with the Potters, Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross remarked that Zouma was like the “ultimate defender”.
Now seemingly back in Chelsea colours for good this time, Zouma could finally show the world what the likes of Mourinho and Shawcross were so impressed by.