Jose Mourinho is reportedly lining up a move for 18-year-old defender Kurt Zouma.
Zouma currently plays for St Etienne in Ligue One but it seems that Chelsea’s new boss is keen to replicate the same sort of formula he used with Zouma’s fellow Frenchman, Raphael Varane at Real Madrid.
Varane is now one of the Spanish side’s most important players and he owes that status and chance to Mourinho who is no longer managing in the Spanish capital.
Chelsea need defensive reinforcements because however much the club’s fans may still admire and support someone like John Terry, he’s not getting any younger.
That makes it important for Mourinho to invest in a young player who can grow into the back four, holding down his position and become a first choice pick consistently over the coming seasons.
The fact Zouma is so young is significant because it shows Mourinho is thinking outside the box and ahead of next season.
The main criticism of Mourinho has always been his longevity. Yes, he guarantees success but there have always been doubts over his long term commitment to any club.
This is a good sign that he’s in it for the long haul because Zouma’s age means Mourinho more than likely sees him as the central figure in several big Chelsea teams during the next phase of his managerial career.
The worry for Mourinho is always going to be his inexperience and the fact he could make more mistakes than a player Mourinho could go after who has greater levels of experience and consistency.
However, the only way players like Zouma are ever going to learn is if they are thrown in at the deep end, given the space and the time to prove themselves and to learn about how to become a better player.
There are going to be other sides in for the Frenchman which threatens to make his fee for a teenager very expensive.
That shouldn’t really matter to Chelsea because they have the cash to be able to pay a fee and put him on a good deal, which makes them very competitive if a bidding war breaks out.
Another lingering worry will be Mourinho’s record with youngsters, as he’s always preferred to go with the more experienced player when it’s mattered.
That could become very frustrating for Zouma who has already experienced a good level of first team football with his current French side and it could be a stipulation in any move he makes.
If he can have half the impact at Chelsea that Varane has had with Real Madrid then it would have been a very good piece of business for the club.
Can Zouma do a job for Chelsea? Is it a waste of money?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald