His name is Kurt Zouma and the best way to describe him might be to call him a "man-child." Think Romelu Lukaku, just slightly smaller, and playing as a center back. Combine an impressive vertical that would not look out of place on a basketball court with very good speed and the ability to read the game as well as one would expect from an 18-year-old, and it's no wonder that clubs all across Europe are lining up for Zouma's services.
There's only one problem for many of them: Saint-Etienne have slapped an £8.5m price tag on the jewel of their academy. Fortunately, that should not pose much of a hurdle for Chelsea. Assuming that Chelsea are in the hunt, that is.
"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."
That's David Venditelli, Zouma's agent. Having also mentioned that Zouma "prefers England," Chelsea could actually have the advantage; although there's a fair bit of assume-and-connect-the-dots going on here since Chelsea are not mentioned by name. Other English contenders may include Manchester City - who were rebuffed by the player last summer - and of course Arsenal because French narrative. And besides the usual German names who could afford a highly talented prospect, Anzhi Makhachala have been linked as well.
What is eminently clear is that Kurt Zouma is in demand. While he rode the bench for France's opener at the U-20 World Cup just a few hours ago (France 3, Ghana 1), that's not nearly all that surprising given that he's the youngest member of the squad.
He also fits the profile of an "Emenalo-buy," a young, highly talented, and quite pricey prospect who may not be able to contribute right away, but could become a fixture in the side a year or two down the line. Or he could be the next Nastasic or Varane and establish himself right away. Either way, if Chelsea are in the hunt, we should be pretty happy I think.
I know there's at least one WAGNH regular who follows ASSE but for the rest, here's an appetizer: