Obviously, Chelsea are in an odd scenario, whereby their new manager – who just won the Europa League and secured another year of Champions League football where it had seemed unlikely – has left the club.
Additionally, it seems entirely plausible that by next season, legend Frank Lampard will be at the helm. Quite the story, of course.
It’s left a number of questions which will have to be quickly addressed by whoever is actually in charge come the start of pre-season. For example, what is to be done with Kurt Zouma?
The Frenchman spent last season on-loan at Everton, where he somewhat returned to the kind of form that saw him draw comparisons with a certain Marcel Desailly prior to his injury in 2016. Indeed, the centre-back was an influential figure in Marco Silva’s team that impressed so much, particularly towards the end of the season. Where Everton scored significantly fewer than anyone in the top six, they actually conceded less than both Manchester United and Arsenal.
Zouma made 32 Premier League appearances, scoring and assisting two goals. He also kept 10 clean sheets and only this week scored his first goal for France in their 4-0 European qualifier win over Andorra. Averaging 1.7 tackles, 3.8 clearances and 0.8 blocks per 90 minutes of action across all competitions last term (per WhoScored), Zouma did look on the mend.
According to the Daily Star, Everton are extremely keen on retaining his services, but they report it is very unlikely Chelsea will allow the player to depart. This is obviously influenced by their two-window transfer ban, but Chelsea could definitely do with the back-up in central defence.
Gary Cahill’s days in blue are over and Antonio Rudiger missed the end of the season with injury so there does appear to be a space within the squad for former St Etienne ace, perhaps the clearest pathway to the starting XI he’s had in SW6 since his move from Ligue 1 in 2014. Looking at how his stats compare with the German and, say, David Luiz, Zouma bests them both in tackles, interceptions and blocks, after all.
With Eden Hazard having already departed for Madrid, Chelsea will need players to stand up and be counted. Zouma has been nothing but reliable over the last year. Whoever the manager may be, they’ll have quite the weapon in a returning Kurt Zouma.
Chelsea fans, what do you think? How good can Zouma become? Will he start next season? Comment below.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!