Having won just 3 of their last 14 Premier League games, after starting with just 3 losses in their first 13, Everton’s season has certainly taken a turn for the worse in the last few months. It’s certainly not living up to the expectations set by a good summer transfer window (Richarlison, Bernard on a free, and three Barcelona castoffs in Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, and André Gomes) and the arrival of manager Marco Silva.
The club may be mired in mid-table, far below the top six and even the likes of Wolves and Watford, and out of both in the second round, but one of the few constant positives have been the performances of Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma. Arriving on transfer deadline day, the 24-year-old has started 20 of their 27 Premier League games, missing just four, including the match against Chelsea, for which he was ineligible.
Unsurprisingly, Silva, who made the last-minute decision to bring in the center back, wouldn’t mind keeping him for next season as well.
“I am really happy with him, he is improving, trying, he is a good professional, he is happy in our club, he is a good team-mate and a really important player. Let’s see what we can do or not in the future.
”But it’s also about his opinion, about his future. But we are really happy with him.”
Zouma signed a new long-term contract with Chelsea less than two years ago, and made it clear at the start of the season that he’s still looking to impress the London Blues more so than the Merseyside Blues. But a lot can change during a season, including personal relationships, and just like with Romelu Lukaku, Everton could look to swing a beneficial deal for themselves (and the player).
“I am really pleased, to be really honest with you. Really pleased. I took the decision in the last day of the market. I had the name in my mind, always, and was in contact with people who are close to him but I had that solution in mind, even if you know the club doesn’t want to sell him.
“I am pleased because he is helping our team, he fits well in our squad, he is a little bit different in terms of profile to our other central defenders — he is a little bit faster when we lose the ball — he is different to Jags, Mina and Michael. [But I also] see many, many conditions in which he can improve, and he knows because I speak to him everyday what I am demanding of him.”
-Marco Silva; source: Liverpool Echo
Playing time, personal growth, and trust — other than winning trophies, there aren’t too many more things most players would ever want in a professional situation. (Except may to not get sent off quite harshly, like he was last weekend.)
With a contract through June 2023, Chelsea should be in no hurry to sell Zouma, but he may not be too keen on another loan if he’s once again deemed surplus to requirements under whoever may be coaching at Cobham next season. Having now fully recovered from the ACL injury that so derailed his promising career under José Mourinho in early 2016, Zouma might have a few tough decision to make as he ponders his future this summer.