Kurt Zouma can become he ‘colonel’ in defence for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea according to a scout familiar with the Italian’s work and player preferences in Serie A.
According to Fabrizio Bertuzzi, a talent spotter who has worked for Fiorentina’s recruitment department, the French centre-back can save the former Napoli manager and his new employers millions once he returns to Cobham.
The 24-year-old is currently on loan at Everton for the season having spent a year with Stoke City.
He was previously tipped to replace John Terry at Chelsea before a major knee injury in 2016 curtailed his progress.
Zouma’s road to recovery has been slow, and following the return of Andreas Christensen from a two-year loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach and the signings of Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz, he has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
Bertuzzi believes it would be a mistake to overlook his potential, especially with Sarri now installed as head coach at Chelsea.
His track record when it comes to developing players is formidable and after missing out on signing Juventus stopper Daniele Rugani in the summer, he could find what he is looking for in a new centre-back within Zouma.
“Sarri has shown that he knows how to build players. I would always choose the colonel Zouma,” said Bertuzzi in an interview with Tribal Football .
The Italian hopes that the defender can follow in the footsteps of Chelsea midfielders Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek by winning chances in the first team by impressing at international level.
Zouma was included in the latest France squad and won his third cap earlier this month in a friendly with Iceland that finished 2-2.
“I still have in my mind the Under 20 World Cup he won in 2013, along with Paul Pogba, Jordan Veretout, Florian Thauvin,” said Bertuzzi. “I am very glad he has been called by Didier Deschamps.
“If he manages to return to rapidity he always shown, I think he still is one of the best defenders in the world.”
Back in August, Zouma spoke out about his plans to use his loan spell at Everton as a means to win a spot in Sarri’s side.
“I have always wanted to show myself at Chelsea since I have been there,” he told the Telegraph . “It comes from my mentality. I have always believed in myself since I started playing at 16.
“I know my injuries stopped me in the way I wanted to play, but injuries are part of football and I want to show people I can come back and play there.”