What would signing Zouma mean for David Luiz?

Mike Hewitt

It's now being widely reported that Chelsea and St. Etienne have agreed a deal that would send 19-year-old centre back Kurt Zouma to Stamford Bridge this summer. This doesn't come as much surprise -- we've been publicly flirting for the better part of a month and Zouma fits the profile of the type of player the Blues tend to go after: Young, performing at a high level and with a phenomenal ceiling.

Given that his signature now seems almost inevitable, it's probably a good idea to figure out what exactly this would mean to Chelsea, and many of the papers have been doing just that. Most of the focus, naturally, is on what this deal would mean to David Luiz. Is Zouma the Brazilian's replacement at centre back as Jose Mourinho attempts to jettison the talented but error-prone defender?

Well, the obvious answer is no. Zouma could only be a replacement for David Luiz in the most trivial sense -- one is a physical marvel, dominant in the air and fond of breaking up attacks in the most physical way possible, and the other is all about style, making surprise interceptions before launching attacks via dribble or a clever pass. And both have questions about their positional ability.

Chelsea cannot replace David Luiz's ability to build from the back with Kurt Zouma. They probably can't replace it with anyone not named Mats Hummels. David Luiz is arguably the most talented ball-playing defender in the game right now, and he has the potential to be much more if he can cut the mistakes out. Zouma has many strengths, but few of them overlap with the Brazilian's and they share a highly annoying weakness. He's hardly a direct replacement.

That doesn't mean David Luiz might not be on the way out of the club, of course -- his performances have regressed since a stellar 2012/13 in which it looked as though he was finally hitting his stride, and the rumours that he's not exactly Mourinho's cup of tea haven't abated. But the Zouma talk essentially has nothing to do whether David Luiz stays or goes.

Unless we see an improvement in the second half of the season, it's difficult to imagine Chelsea saying no to a huge bid from the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich for the curly-haired one. He's not playing as well as he ought to be, and if we receive an offer on the order of what we received for Juan Mata, letting him go is probably the right move.

Kurt Zouma isn't going to be what determine's David Luiz's future at Chelsea. That's all on David Luiz.

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