Does Kurt Zouma’s rumoured departure mean Chelsea are signing a centre-back in January?

Kurt Zouma

Kurt Zouma has been linked with a loan move away from Chelsea.

The French Under-21 international has enjoyed a productive spell at Stamford Bridge this season, starting his first Premier League game in the 2-0 victory over Newcastle last week.

Despite being the only real cover for the central defensive positions, reports in recent weeks have suggested that he could be on his way out of West London for the second half of the season. Calciomercato highlighted an interest from Serie A club Internazionale, who missed out on Matija Nastasic, and a loan deal would probably be the best chance of Zouma enjoying a consistent run of first-team football to aid his development.

He has made 11 appearances for the Blues this term, playing regularly in the Champions League, League Cup and FA Cup, although, of his four top flight games, only one has come as a starter. Regardless, he is considered as a vital part of the Blues future, and his frequent placing in matchday squads has proven his worth to Jose Mourinho.

Considering he is the only backup experienced naturalised central defender in the Chelsea ranks, the rumours of Zouma’s departure can only mean one thing - a new centre-back will be signing in January.

If the youngster was to leave Stamford Bridge, it would leave no cover for a potential injury to John Terry or Gary Cahill, and this may give some backing to the rumours that Mourinho is keen on signing a new centre-back this month.

The Telegraph has linked the Blues with a big-money move for Real Madrid youngster - and Mourinho favourite - Raphael Varane, and, although considered a key player for the La Liga club, he could be tempted to link up with his former coach.

However, he would likely be even less willing to sit on the bench than Zouma, having featured so regularly for a club of Madrid’s stature. Varane could potentially arrive and upset the seemingly well-set defensive unit that Mourinho has created at Stamford Bridge, making his transfer less worth it in the short term.

Yet, a move for Varane would certainly be greeted with praise by Chelsea fans, even if it means Zouma is sent out on loan, as the Blues would possess two of the most highly rated young defenders in world football - and a future back-line for the next decade.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch