Chelsea have completed the signing of Kurt Zouma, but will allow the defender to see out the season with his current club Saint Etienne.
The 19-year-old has been on Jose Mourinho’s radar since he returned to Stamford Bridge last summer, but he initially planned to wait until the end of this season before making his move. However, the Portuguese coach has been forced into action six months ahead of schedule, following reports a number of rival clubs are also keen on the defender.
Earlier this week it was suggested that Saint Etienne were holding out for £18million for Zouma, but on Friday it was confirmed that the two clubs have settled for a figure of £12.5million. And as part of the deal, Chelsea will allow the France Under-21 international to remain in his homeland and see out the campaign at Les Verts.
“If we don’t do it now, probably we can’t do it in the summer because other clubs were also very strong on him,” said Mourinho. “So we did it, now he stays at Saint-Etienne, pre-season he will join us. We will see if it is to stay or if it is to go on loan. He’s another young player in the profile of some Chelsea signed in the couple of last year’s.”
Zouma becomes the Blues fourth signing of the January window, following earlier captures of Nemanja Matic from Benfica, Mohamed Salah from FC Basle, and Bertrand Traore from Bobo-Dioulasso, for a combined total of at least £44million. However, they have offset this figure by selling Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37.1million and Kevin de Bruyne, who has ended his short stay in the capital by joining Wolfsburg for £17million.