There can be little doubting, that with the arrival of Antonio Conte, the extent to which Chelsea have been doused in transfer speculation. It seems there could be something of a transfer merry-go-round at Stamford Bridge this summer.
While the club is being linked with numerous players, their loss of Champions League football sees rumours linger of certain stars leaving also. One of which proves Kurt Zouma.
The French defender has recently been linked with a move across London to Arsenal. However, if Chelsea are to return to success next season, this is a departure they simply can’t allow to take place.
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After just two years at the club, Zouma has cemented his place in the starting XI. It’s been an impressive rise for the 21-year-old who, unlike many overseas arrivals, has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water.
Having been handed 26 appearances in Chelsea’s title winning season, the Frenchman was given a firm taste of success.
Such vital experience under the wing of Jose Mourinho saw Zouma flourish in 2015-16. The centre-back juggernaut managed to rack up 32 appearances albeit having his season cut short by injury.
With Gary Cahill on the wane and John Terry popularly believed to be leaving in 2017, the 21-year-old is the future of Chelsea’s defence.
The Blues may splash the cash in transfer windows, but one of their bargain buys may prove their finest. With just £12 million having been forked out for his services, other European outfits have been left kicking themselves.
It is for the aforementioned reasons and attributes that Zouma has attracted so much interest this summer. With Chelsea having lost Champions League football, other clubs have smelt blood.
If the rumours are to be believed, Arsene Wenger is keen to garner a French connection at the heart of his defence alongside Laurent Koscielny. Moreover, the manager is renowned for his preference of younger stars so Zouma certainly fits the bill.
Chelsea simply cannot afford to lose him however.
In Zouma, Chelsea possess a long-term replacement for Terry and such a proposition should not be taken likely. It’s not every day a 21-year-old centre-back arrives in the Premier League and becomes one of its finest in under two years.
The Blues must assure the Frenchman of their ambitions and faith in him to block any potential exit. Roman Abramovich could unload bales of currency into the transfer market to find a replacement, but there is little need in already possessing Zouma.
Only truly world-class defenders such as Sergio Ramos and Thiago Silva would prove a guaranteed improvement and they are unrealistic options.
There may be considerable excitement in Italy over centre-backs like Kostas Manolas and Leonardo Bonucci, but banking on them to replace Zouma would be a risk not worth taking.
Chelsea are entering an uncertain period that could go either way. The last thing the club needs to be doing is dispensing its finest and most promising players.
The Stamford Bridge side simply must deflect any approaches no matter how lucrative or tempting.
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