Does this Chelsea youngster have a brighter future than Raphael Varane?

Kurt Zouma

Jose Mourinho once described Raphael Varane as the best young defender in the world. But what about Kurt Zouma?

The 19-year-old has joined up with the Chelsea squad this summer and has made all the right noises ahead of his first campaign as a Blues player.

First, Zouma hailed Jose Mourinho as the best manager in the world (while also praising John Terry).

Then, the Frenchman said he has no issue with playing out of position at right-back.

Zouma even scored the winning goal in Chelsea's friendly against OL Ljubjana, ensuring that he has pulled out all the stops this pre-season.

And there is little pressure on the young defender ahead of the new season as there is, quite simply, very little to lose. Few would expect Zouma to displace either Gary Cahill or John Terry in central defence but, when he gets his chance, any strong performances would simply be a bonus.

The Frenchman has no doubt been brought in for the long term.

Why, then, has there been so much talk of Varane this summer?

The Real Madrid centre-back clearly has the potential to be world-class and Mourinho himself is a big fan of the 21-year-old.

In Zouma, however, the Blues have a more versatile defender two years younger than Varane. Those two years will be invaluable in terms of teaching the youngster and allowing him to adapt to the Premier League and, more importantly, Chelsea's expectations.

Bringing Varane to Stamford Bridge would set Mourinho's side back at least £21 million. But Zouma is already a Chelsea player.

Given time and training, the 19-year-old could prove a world-class defender himself. And the fact that Chelsea seem to rate him so highly at such a young age suggests big things for the future.

Sooner or later, Varane might not be the 'best young defender in the world' anymore. Indeed, that title could belong to Zouma if he plays his cards right in west London. 

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