West Ham United have been dealt a new fitness concern regarding Kurt Zouma.
That’s according to a report by 90min, who claim that David Moyes is concerned that the centre-back, who has already sustained five separate knee injuries over the course of his career, suffers from a long-term degenerative knee issue.
The report goes on to state that the 27-year-old, who only joined West Ham from Chelsea in a £29.8m deal last summer, has looked far from 100% fit in the Hammers’ opening two Premier League fixtures of the 2022/23 campaign, although it is not said whether or not the France international is a doubt for the Europa Conference League play-off against Viborg FF on Thursday.
Considering just how unlucky West Ham have been with centre-back injuries so far this season, should Zouma indeed prove to have a long-term issue with his knee, it would undoubtedly come as a huge blow to Moyes and his side.
Indeed, the £25.2m-rated Frenchman is currently the 59-year-old manager’s only senior option available in the heart of his defence, with £30m summer signing Nayef Aguerd ruled out of action until at least October after damaging his ankle ligaments in a pre-season friendly, while both Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson also remained sidelined due to knocks.
This has seen Ben Johnson – a right-back by trade – start both the 2-0 loss to Manchester City and the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest alongside Zouma at centre-back, something that is evidently far from ideal, particularly when you consider his performance against Forest.
As such, it is clear to see that, despite the Hammers having agreed a £10.1m deal for Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thilo Kehrer on Tuesday – with Moyes said to be hoping that the 25-year-old will be registered in time for the Viborg clash on Thursday – the further loss of Zouma would be a disastrous blow for the Scot and his side as he simply doesn’t have the options and depth to cope with yet another fitness concern at the back.