Jose Mourinho is likely to opt against using £12 million centre-back Kurt Zouma in his plans for next season.
The Daily Mail has suggested that the Portuguese boss isn’t ready to offer Zouma a role in his first team, despite the fact he’s been touted as John Terry’s natural replacement in the back four.
Zouma definitely has a bright future at Chelsea, but the paper suggests that Mourinho would prefer a more experienced option in the heart of his defence next season.
“John Terry has signed a one-year contract extension but Mourinho would prefer to add another experienced centre-half to his ranks after selling David Luiz to Paris St Germain,” writes Matt Barlow.
Mourinho is likely to start the season using a combination of Gary Cahill and John Terry in his back four. There’s no reason he shouldn’t because that duo was part of the best defence in the Premier League last season.
However, it means that if Mourinho dips into the transfer market, any central defender heading into Stamford Bridge needs to be aware they are not going to start the season as a first choice player.
That limits Mourinho’s options in terms of transfers, but he should still be able to pick up an older, experienced defensive option if that’s the way he wants to go.
Another option he could use is looking at the squad he already has available.
Chelsea are expected to sign a left-back, which frees Cesar Azpilicueta to play down the right, allowing Branislav Ivanovic to move into the middle of the team.
Ivanovic had a superb season at right-back last year but he is an experienced defender, who is more than capable of playing on either side of central defence.
Mourinho may prefer that option because it means he has to make fewer changes to a key part of the side, which removes the element of a ‘settling in period’ for any new signing over the first chunk of the season.
It’s an exciting time to be a Chelsea fan when someone as talented and good as Zouma faces not being able to get into the Blues’ back four but Mourinho is unlikely to reveal his hand fully until after the World Cup.