Kurt Zouma reveals why he snubbed Manchester United & Internazionale

Stamford Bridge

Manchester United, AS Monaco and Inter Milan all attempted to land defender now at Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho was able to seal a deal for one of the most coveted young centre backs in European football during the January transfer window as he beat off competition from Manchester United, Internazionale and AS Monaco in order to procure Kurt Zouma's signature.

The 19-year-old, who was loaned back to his former club Saint Etienne for the latter part of last season, may be entrusted with first-team responsibility next season, as Mourinho may look to bed in a future possible replacement for veteran defender and captain John Terry.

Youngsters are often regarded as players who may not get the playing opportunities at Stamford Bridge, as the club traditionally favours experience, however, Eden Hazard, 23, has been an established first-team player ever since his transfer from Lille two years ago.

Mourinho also has experience building up a precociously-talented centre back, as his work with Raphael Varane is testament to at Real Madrid.

That work with Varane is what convinced Zouma to join the Portuguese in West London, effectively shunning offers from Old Trafford, the San Siro and Fontvieille.

"When I had a phone call from Mourinho, I thought someone was imitating him," Zouma is quoted to have said by France Football magazine. "First, I could hardly talk. It is very flattering to have a call from one of the best coaches in the world. He told me I have an interesting profile and he wanted to do with me what he did with Raphael Varane at Real Madrid. Thanks to him he became one of the best French defenders.

"When you hear that, you reply yes immediately. Being one of the best French defenders is an objective for me."

On the other offers that were put forward to him, he said: "There was Internazionale, Monaco and Manchester United. All those clubs called. Monaco was the first to call, with the sport director. I thought about it, but with Mr Mourinho, that is a strong signal.

"I know it is a risky choice, but I wanted to catch that train. I didn't know if I would get that opportunity again. By signing at Chelsea I am keen to reach a new level."

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