• Premier League

Chelsea still in the hunt for £8.5m-rated Zouma

ESPN staff
June 21, 2013
Kurt Zouma is a highly-rated prospect © AP

Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Anzhi Makhachkala are believed to be the three clubs whose interest in Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma has not cooled in the face of the Ligue 1 club's £8.5 million minimum asking price.

Currently with France's Under-20 squad at the World Cup in Turkey, Zouma, 18, has already established himself in the first team with Les Verts, and has been the subject of frenzied transfer speculation ever since making his Ligue 1 debut early in the 2011/12 campaign.

His agent, David Venditelli, told Eurosport his young client "prefers England" should he move, giving Chelsea hope they will beat off competition which has already been thinned out by Saint-Etienne's determination not to give away one of their prize assets cheaply.

"Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United were interested, but they cooled when they learned of Saint-Etienne's asking price. There is, however, an English club and a German side still in the running," Venditelli explained.

Though they would undoubtedly be tempted by an over-the-odds bid for their promising teenage centre-back, Saint-Etienne have repeatedly stated only striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be allowed to leave the club this summer.

Zouma, who rejected a move to Manchester City during his maiden Ligue 1 season, told Le Progres in February he had no regrets about remaining with the club he joined in 2009 and with whom he extended his contract to 2017 last season.

"Going abroad when you're young, it's getting carried away and setting yourself a mission almost-impossible. If I had to do it again [sign an extension with Les Verts], I would without hesitation," he told the Lyon-based newspaper. "I signed my first professional contract in 2011. It's always nice to prolong your contract with the team where you have come through the ranks.

"The club has confidence in me. Personally, I've always wanted to stay here, despite the approaches I had last summer. I'm the player in the squad who has the longest contract. It's an honour for me."

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