Serie A giants Inter Milan have made an official offer for Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma in the last 24 hours, with Nerazzurri boss Roberto Mancini hopeful of taking the French starlet on loan for the rest of the season.
Mancini has already signed Lukas Podolski and Xherdan Shaqiri on loan in January and wants a similar short-term deal for Zouma, who has been hugely impressive when used by Blues boss Jose Mourinho so far this season.
Zouma remains behind Gary Cahill and John Terry in the Chelsea pecking order for the time being though, which the Express believes has given Inter cause for quiet optimism that the 20-year-old may be receptive to regular first-team opportunities elsewhere.
Mourinho yet to make his mind up
Italian sources believe the deal could be done as early as next week, if Mourinho decides the switch in the best interest of a rising star with huge raw potential.
Mourinho has yet to make his mind up on Zouma, who has filled for Cahill and Terry on a number of occasions this season. The former Saint-Etienne standout has played 11 times in all competitions, which when you consider Chelsea are still chasing four trophies this season makes the exit of any first-team squad member look unlikely at this stage.
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Zouma will surely be needed this season
Chelsea have a plethora of attacking options but centre-back is one of the few areas of Mourinho's squad which looks comparatively thin. Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic are the only recognised cover for Cahill and Terry at centre-back, while Cesar Azpilcueta and Filipe Luis are the only other defenders in the first-team picture.
Zouma will be important to Chelsea when it comes to crunch time playing three games a week in all competitions, with the upcoming League Cup semi-final showdown with Liverpool over two legs a prime example of a tie he could feature in prominently.
For that reason Mancini's cheeky attempt to raid the Premier League for the second time in this window is likely to be rejected, unless Mourinho has surprise plans to sign another defender before the February 3rd transfer deadline.