According to a recent report from The Daily Mirror, Everton are interested in a late summer move for Kurt Zouma. The 23-year-old currently plays his football at fellow Premier League outfit Chelsea and has done so since 2014, although the defender spent the entirety of last season on loan at Stoke City, and ultimately failed to help keep the Potters in the top-flight.
Yet it appears that Marco Silva’s Toffees are keen on the £13.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), although Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United must seek to hijack their proposed move for the centre back in a bid to land the perfect deputy for the injured Florian Lejeune.
Ultimately, Magpies defender Lejeune suffered ligament damage earlier in pre-season to suggest that he could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with reports yesterday confirming that he had successful surgery to ‘repair an anterior cruciate ligament tear’.
Thus, manager Benitez looks set to be without the Frenchman for some time, and while Jamaal Lascelles and new signing Florian Schar offer him excellent centre back options, further depth and thus greater competition may be needed in that area of the field – Zouma would provide just that.
The 23-year-old may well have been part of a Stoke side that were relegated from the top-flight last season, but he was one of a few bright sparks in an otherwise shambolic campaign for the Potters to underline his top tier credentials – there’s a reason he has featured 71 times for Chelsea.
In fact, it’s arguable that the only reason he isn’t currently turning out week in week out for the Blues is because he suffered a nasty injury back in February 2016 – until that point in the season, he had featured in all but two of Chelsea’s Premier League games.
Thus, it’s clear that he is very highly-rated at Stamford Bridge, and with Everton themselves clearly in need of reinforcements at the back, it’s not difficult to see why they are keen on the 23-year-old.
Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka are Silva’s only fit centre backs at present given the injury to Mason Holgate, and with Ashley Williams shipped out on loan to Stoke City and Ramiro Funes Mori sold earlier this summer, they are very depleted in that department.
As such, it may be difficult for Benitez’s men to get a deal done ahead of the Toffees, but given that Lejeune looks set for a lengthy time out with injury, the Magpies must seek to hijack Everton’s move for the France international.
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