Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho convinced Kurt Zouma to reject Manchester United, AS Monaco and Inter Milan in a phone call with the promising France Under-21 international, who completed a £12m move to Stamford Bridge before being loaned back to Saint-Etienne in January.
The 19-year-old was told by Mourinho that, under his management, he could become the new Raphael Varane - a young French defender who established himself as the most impressive young centre-back in world football during Mourinho’s tenure at the Bernabeu. The Portuguese coach had previously hailed Varane as the planet’s best young defender.
This is information published in the latest edition of respected French publication France Football, who claim Manchester United were one of four clubs keen to sign Zouma before he put pen-to-paper on a deal with the Blues. Mourinho’s decision to personally call the defender, it seems, landed Chelsea one of Europe’s most promising young footballers.
Despite informing Zouma that he has the attributes required to become the new Varane, Mourinho is reportedly keen to add the Real Madrid defender to his ranks this summer after agreeing to sell Brazil international David Luiz to French champions Paris Saint-Germain for £48m.
If Varane is lured to Stamford Bridge, it’s unclear where this would leave Zouma, especially as John Terry has agreed a one-year contract extension. Terry’s centre-back partner Gary Cahill has been in fine form this season, while 21-year-old centre-back Tomas Kalas showcased his credentials in the final months of the 2013/14 campaign.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Zouma will go out on loan again next season, although the central defender will be keen to cement his status as Chelsea’s first-choice centre-back from the start of next season.