Chelsea have set a €30million (£25m) asking price for defender Kurt Zouma, as ex-manager Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen to reunite with the defender at AS Roma.
Zouma is into the final two years of his current deal with the west Londoners. The 26-year-old has really struggled for game time since Thomas Tuchel took the reins from club legend Frank Lampard back in late January.
Chelsea’s number 15 featured in a total of 36 games in all competitions last season for the Blues, with the large majority of them coming under Lampard.
The ex-Saint Etienne defender finished the 2020/21 campaign as Chelsea’s highest scoring defender with five Premier League goals. This was only two goals off of the Blues’ top league goal scorer in Jorginho.
Despite Zouma’s specialised aerial ability which helped share the burden for a blunt Blues side, new manager Tuchel favoured fellow centre-half Antonio Rudiger, who was frozen out under the previous regime.
Amid talk of the German defender negotiating a contract extension, the Chelsea boss admitted back in May 2021 that he was unfair on how he treated Zouma in the early days of his managerial regime.
“Nothing is better than what he’s doing to fight for a new contract,” said Tuchel. “If he wants to have a new contract he has our full support, if he wants to stay at the club then speaking with performances, this is what he’s doing.
“Since day one we chose him in the first match, it was an unfair decision against Kurt, but he is German and I had a clear picture of what he can do because I followed him a bit more than Kurt Zouma.
“So it was an unfair decision and I had a clear picture of what I can ask of him and what he is capable of delivering to a team. He took the chance and since then it is absolutely well deserved that he is in the team.
“He is kind of an aggressive leader, has a natural aggression in him, hates to lose, hard to beat in duals, very very brave and full of energy in defending.
“He’s leading by example, has a positive aggression, this is what we like and when he can channel all this into top performances we are very happy to have him.”
Zouma was part of the France Euro 2020 squad, but made zero appearances throughout the competition, prompting questions over his Blues future.
French outlet RMC Sport have provided an update.
Loic Tanzi’s translated tweet read: “AS Roma would like to recruit Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) on loan.
“Jose Mourinho is very fond of the French defender but the London club do not want to loan the former Saint-Etienne player for the moment, and ask for more than 30 million euros to release him.”
It isn’t a surprise at all that the Portuguese is very keen on reuniting with the defender who he brought to Chelsea from Saint-Etienne when he was the manager at the time.
In the case that Zouma does take his next step in Italy, the Blues have two options on what they do to fill his void.
Option number one is to sign one of their central defender targets this summer, with the likes of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Villarreal’s Pau Torres two long-term targets for the club.
Alternatively, Tuchel could give an academy graduate like Marc Guehi a chance to impress and be part of the squad next season, and therefore saving some money from the transfer budget that could be used to reinforce other areas of the team.
Source by Football London