Kurt Zouma flattered by Chelsea links

The 18-year-old St Etienne defender has admitted he is pleased to be linked with Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, but Zouma also said his focus is on his role with France at the Under-20 World Cup for now.

Chelsea could switch their attention to St Etienne defender Kurt Zouma after being priced out of a move for Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala, and the 18-year-old French player has indicated he is happy to linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

Zouma is currently with the French squad at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, and there is speculation that AC Milan and Bayern Munich will rival Chelsea for his signature should he leave St Etienne after that tournament finishes in mid-July.

However Chelsea have been given a boost by the youngster’s admission he is flattered by the interest from the Blues.

"If you hear of interest from Chelsea and a great manager such as Jose Mourinho, you take notice," he said.

"It makes you happy, and it means you are on the right way to the top.

"I am relaxed about all the fuss about me being linked with big clubs, at the moment my focus is on the Under-20 World Cup. We have to try to win that with our generation of good young players."

Zouma made 18 appearances for St Etienne last season, helping his side to fifth place in Ligue 1 and a Europa League spot for next season. The French club reportedly value Zouma at around £10million, a price that could rise steeply if they keep hold of him for another season or two, with the 18-year-old rated as one of the most promising players in France.

Chelsea will likely look to strengthen their defensive resources this summer, especially if David Luiz is sold, and Zouma could come in as an exciting prospect who can also play a part in their side immediately. Zouma could be seen as a long-term replacement for John Terry, who is expected to play reduced role in the side next season.

Mourinho might also look to loan Zouma out, having seen other Chelsea youngsters like Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne develop well at other sides before challenging for a first team spot at Stamford Bridge.

image: © manuel | MC

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch