Premier League giants Chelsea endured a horrid campaign in 2015-16 – their worst season since Roman Abramovich took over. But with the season done and dusted, the Blues now focus on overturning fortunes and reclaiming their status in world football.
The new season will bring a new dawn that will start with the arrival of a new boss in Antonio Conte. The Italian is pragmatic by nature and will always aim to be at the pinnacle of success at every stage of the domestic and European competitions.
He is known to be the perfect manager who could nurture the young talents in the squad, turning them into world-class professionals. One such name that comes to mind who is destined for success if given the ideal guidance is defender, Kurt Zouma.
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SUCCESSOR TO TERRY
In his debut season at Stamford Bridge, the Frenchman triumphed by winning the Premier League title and quickly became a fan favourite as time progressed, earning praise from all quarters.
Sky Sports reports former Blues player Paul Elliot deems Zouma to be ‘the present and the future’ of the club and is the replacement of John Terry in the long run.
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Conte has an exceptional history of developing young prodigies with the examples of Paul Pogba and Leonardo Bonucci some of many to exemplify their talent under the Italian boss.
Bonucci played all his professional football for club and country since 2011 under the watchful eye of Conte, while at Juventus from 2011-14 and with Italy since 2014.
DEVELOPED WITH TIME
He was hailed as the successor to Andrea Barzagli in the early years of his career and he has now become a mainstay for both the Bianconeri and Italy.
Zouma, on the other hand is a quick, combative, tactically sound centre-half and has often been likened to former French legend Marcel Desailly, who himself spent six years at Chelsea from 1998-2004.
The 21-year-old is versatile and can settle into each of Conte’s formations with ease, be it 3-5-2, 4-4-2, 4-2-4 or 4-3-3. Furthermore, Bonucci and Zouma are both ball-playing centre-backs, capable of initiating attacks through long passes.
The former St. Etienne star averaged 1.3 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 4.9 clearances in all competitions this term, according to WhoScored.com.
SIMILAR FEATURES OF PLAY
The Juventus ace and the France international both have a strong physical presence for their respective sides, with both having a penchant for scoring in set-piece situations.
National team head coach Didier Deschamps ranks Zouma highly and predicted he will be a defender of grandeur stature in the years to come.
However, the Frenchman is set to miss out on showcasing his talent in the upcoming Euros in his native country after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury that ended his club season in February.
Conte has earmarked signing a quality centre-back and could bring Bonucci to west London before the start of next season.
The Italian defender, as claimed by Evening Standard, refused to rule out a reunion with Conte after initially insisting his future lies with the Old Lady. If this becomes a reality, it would be huge for the future prospects of Zouma, who can gain invaluable experience playing alongside Bonucci, with Conte for added guidance.
Should Chelsea sign Bonucci before the start of the new season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!