Forget Raphael Varane, the Chelsea captain’s replacement is already in the squad.
Chelsea’s signing of Kurt Zouma has gone under the radar to a degree. It took place in instalments – he signed last January but stayed at St Etienne for six months, and he hasn’t played a huge amount since arriving in the summer.
But the acquisition is looking like it’s been another smart one for the Blues. While big money signings like Eliaquim Mangala and Marcos Rojo have struggled at the back for their new teams, Zouma has slotted in effortlessly at the back for Chelsea whenever he’s been needed.
The latest test for the Frenchman came at Tottenham, where he came on at half-time to replace the injured Gary Cahill. Jose Mourinho spoke highly of the defender’s performance in the second half:
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“It was a good opportunity for Zouma… under pressure, 2-0 against Tottenham, good players and a good offensive team.”
“It was very good for him. He’s playing well every time he plays. He played Champions League against Maribor and a Capital One Cup game. It was a real test and I’m so happy with his evolution since he arrived. He’ll be a big player for Chelsea for many years.”
Zouma’s latest opportunity will come tonight in the Champions League. John Terry is not in the squad and the £12.5m signing will start, barring an injury between now and kick-off. He will play alongside Gary Cahill at the back, in a partnership that Blues fans could be seeing for many years to come.