Chelsea's mid-season spending in the winter market could soon exceed £40m as the club are expected to secure the signature of talented French centre back Kurt Zouma in the coming hours. This, on top of their confirmed acquisitions of Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic sees the West Londoners stand alone as the current transfer window's biggest spenders - a clear signal of intent on their ambitions to fortify their squad in order to win a trophy.
Jose Mourinho teams are renowned for their tactical acumen, imposing physical strengths and defensive solidity, yet with the enhancing age of veteran John Terry, the Portuguese will soon have to locate an heir to the Englishman, however, it is believed Zouma could be the long-term replacement for David Luiz, Chelsea's third-choice centre back and a player who has featured in just 904 minutes of Premier League football this season.
Is Zouma, therefore, an improvement on Luiz? Or does he have the raw talent required to grow into a superior version of the Brazilian?
In a recent study published by Here Is The City, Zouma, 19, appeared to be statistically inferior to some of the top defenders in England such as Jan Vertonghen, Laurent Koscielny and Vincent Kompany, however, when adding the main defensive actions completed in Ligue 1 for Zouma and the Premier League for the England-based trio, then dividing that total by the number of minutes the athlete had played, Zouma completed a similar number of contributions per minutes.
For instance, Zouma either made a tackle, an interception or a clearance once every 8 minutes he is on the field in France, a hair under Kompany's average of one defensive contribution per 7.9 minutes.
Compared to Zouma, Luiz does not complete a defensive action as frequently as the Brazilian only makes a tackle, clearance or interception once every 10.3 minutes he is on the pitch in league competition thus far this season.
Where Luiz, 26, clearly has the edge, though, is his experience (seven years Zouma's senior), the fact he is already accustomed to the football culture and environment at Stamford Bridge and that his statistics have been accumulated against players of a higher calibre than Zouma would be battling in the French division.
Where Zouma has the edge is his room for growth, the physical capabilities he possesses that already belie his age, his composure, ability to play the ball out of defence, his passing accuracy and his aerial strengths.
At £12.4m, Chelsea may well have secured a bargain, should the deal go through in the coming hours and, considering Luiz has a transfermarkt.co.uk valuation of £23m, the club could feasibly upgrade and make a profit at the same time.
image: © KevFB