In the final part of our series exploring who could replace John Terry at Chelsea, we take a look at a Frenchman and a Senegalese defender, one already at Chelsea, and one recently courted by them.
The 21-year-old is already well acquainted with Chelsea and what John Terry has given to the club. The Frenchman played alongside Terry last season and his game will have been enhanced hugely by working alongside such an experienced player. At this moment in time, Zouma is arguably closer to being the exact opposite of Terry rather than anything else. Powerful, direct and very quick, what Zouma lacks in experience and positional awareness he makes up for with his physical attributes.
While Zouma does seem like the sensible heir to Terry's position, can he actually grow into the role? Zouma is still a very young defender and of course has room for improvement; however, he has not been completely error-free in his career so far, and he has also found it difficult to stay injury-free. His most recent lay-off saw him sidelined for six months after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Chelsea's John Terry and Kurt Zouma celebrate at the end of the match
Positively, the Chelsea defender commands no fee as he has been with the club since 2014, and will evidently need no introduction to the way the London club works. He is a very talented player and his physical presence in the box makes him a nightmare to compete with both when he is attacking and defending. Zouma will be looking to cement his place in Antonio Conte's team once he has fully recovered from his injury.
The Napoli centre-back has already been linked with Chelsea in the recent transfer window. Sky Sports reported in late July that Chelsea had tabled a £38 million bid for the defender, with the price-tag showing how highly both Chelsea and Napoli rate the young defender.
Koulibaly is known for his fantastic versatility. He is able to play in the centre of the defence, at right-back or as a defensive midfielder, with his supreme ability to play in a number of different positions; £38 million seems to be a good price for such a diverse player.
Juventus' Sami Khedira in action against Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly
The 25-year-old has over 200 senior appearances and almost 100 for Napoli. For a relatively young player, almost 100 caps is a hugely valuable amount of experience in Italy's top league. Koulibaly has been able to continue to improve his defensive ability alongside his passing ability with Napoli, a side that challenge both domestically and in European competitions.
The Senegalese defender is very similar to Zouma in his size; however, he is a more composed player on the ball and would be a good investment for Chelsea considering his superb versatility. So perhaps, for now, the Senegalese international seems like a better bet for a long term successor to John Terry at the back.
Whether Chelsea decide to choose any one of the six previously mentioned players or not, they must bring in a defender that is able to immediately slot into the side once Terry leaves. The centre-back also needs to be young enough that they can create a lasting legacy in a similar vein to their outgoing captain, leader, and legend.
Chelsea's John Terry lines up before the match