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Chelsea in 'three-horse race' for French starlet

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It looks as though the forthcoming decade will be dominated by French centre backs. Raphael Varane is already excelling at Real Madrid, Eliaquim Mangala is impressing for Porto, and St. Etienne's Kurt Zouma has the potential to be as good as either of them.

Since Madrid nabbed Varane off Lens for €10 million in 2011, other clubs have been hoping to replicate that impressive piece of business, and it looks as though Chelsea might be able to do the same with Zouma, who might well be the most intimidating centre half in Ligue 1 at the moment*. According to agent David Venditelli, who spoke to l'Equipe, the Blues are one of three sides with a shot at the 19-year-old.

*Well, not at this exact moment, since he's still serving a suspension for a tackle that broke Thomas Guerbert's leg.

Serie A is an interesting destination, as are Inter, for the tactical growth of the lad. Of course he wouldn’t mind moving to the Premier League, hopefully to Chelsea, where he could work with Jose Mourinho or to Monaco in Ligue 1.

There were other sides interested, such as Newcastle, but now it’s a three-horse race.

-Source: L'Equipe via Football-Italia.

Further reports on L'Equipe indicate that both Monaco and Inter Milan have made bids for Zouma at around €11 million, with Chelsea currently staying quiet. It's entirely possible, of course, that we're being used as a foil in a bidding war, but considering Monaco have more money than we do I get the sense that the Blues are in this for real.

Jose Mourinho has already had a major part in developing one elite young centre back -- it'd be very fun if he got to do it again.