Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho includes French defender Kurt Zouma when talking about his key players in the future.
The 19-year-old signed for the Blues for a reported £12 million transfer fee in the 2014 January transfer window from Ligue 1 outfit Saint Etienne.
As a part of the deal, he remained with the Ligue 1 club until the end of the season where he received a number of rave reviews from the French press.
Portuguese coach Mourinho has been investing more time in youth players since returning to Stamford Bridge and the quantity of youngsters at his disposal and out on loan is frightening.
When asked to compare his squad with that of Manchester City, Mourinho believes the Citizens have a collection of players in their prime yet in the foreseeable future his youngsters will prove to be better.
Among the obvious names such as Eden Hazard and Oscar, Mourinho gave Zouma a huge confidence booster as he tagged him among those he expects to count on to lead the Chelsea charge throughout the next decade.
“They [Manchester City] don’t have yet – Frank [Lampard] is the only one of that age – the players who next year are going to be one, heavy year older. They are all on the 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 level.” He said, quoted by the Telegraph.
“You tell me. If we keep this team, and they keep that team: in five years time, who is going to be better? I say immediately – us, because in five years I’m going to have Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Azpilicueta, Zouma, in the best moment of their careers.”
Described as a powerful centre-back with excellent technique, many observers feel Zouma could be the long-term replacement for Blues skipper John Terry.
The France under-21 international made a goal-scoring debut for the West Londoners in the 2-1 League Cup victory over Bolton Wanderers last month.