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Marco Silva plays coy on Everton signing Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma

“We’ll see what will happen in the next months,” says the Everton manager when quizzed about the long-term future of the center back

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Kurt Zouma, a somewhat forgotten man of Chelsea’s long-term defensive options, has become a fixture in Everton’s starting XI this season. After playing just one minute in his loan team’s first three Premier League matches, Zouma has played every single minute of the Toffees’ last 8 Premier League contests, as well as going the distance in both of their Carabao Cup outings. He’s even earned a recall to the France national team!

Clearly, first-year manager Marco Silva rates the Chelsea man. And with the January transfer window looming, the ever-inquisitive press is starting to ask some pointed questions, such as would Everton consider making Zouma’s transfer permanent? Since there is no buy-option built into the loan deal that would expedite any such process, Silva equivocated, as any coach in his position would do.

“Let’s see what we can do. It’s really important for me to feel how our players are enjoying their work here and to play in this shirt. We’ll see what will happen in the next months. It is something you always pay attention to. We have to decide in the future what we can do or not.”

”I think it is really important for me that - not just the new players - but all the others’ environment is good. You are talking about players who have come from big clubs. We have a fantastic group spirit in our dressing room and as we get strong it will get better for us. They are enjoying how they are feeling as well. The winning mentality we are trying to build.”

-Marco Silva; source: Sky Sports

Everton won their match on Saturday, 3-1 over Brighton, with Zouma losing a heading duel for Brighton’s lone goal.

Next Sunday, Zouma’s current team make their annual visit to Stamford Bridge, the place where he had cemented a place in Jose Mourinho’s preferred eleven back in the 2015-16 season, until he suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his knee in February. Since then he’s spent his time rehabbing, playing for Stoke City and now for Everton.

We won’t see him play at the Bridge this time either, because of loan rules.

“It’s something you already know, some months ago, that Zouma won’t be able to play next week. But our way to think is preparing the other players to play. Mina is ready to play if I make the decision.”

-Marco Silva; source: Sky Sports

Given the persistent rumors that Chelsea are in the market for a new centre-back, and that Zouma’s name never comes up as a replacement for Gary Cahill should he leave, it may be that we’ve seen the last of our friendly Frenchman in a Blue shirt. Zouma’s certainly enjoying life and football on Merseyside under the ambitious Silva.

“In every aspect I can improve a lot with him. I feel really comfortable here and I hope to keep playing so I can help them team as much as I can.

“[The loan move has] helped me a lot. It meant I could play more games and to keep improving a lot. Here I have a manager who helps me a lot and has showed me a lot technically and tactically. It is enjoyable to play when you are playing in a positive way.”

-Kurt Zouma; source: Everton FC

That said, Zouma had made it clear in the summer that he does not consider his Chelsea journey over yet, not by a long shot. The timing this season didn’t work out well, with Sarri arriving late and the season starting early, and so Zouma took the safer route to minutes by going on loan. But, at least back in August, he was not thinking of leaving the club. Things can of course change quickly in football...

“I have always wanted to show myself at Chelsea since I have been there. It comes from my mentality. I have always believed in myself since I started playing at 16. I know my injuries stopped me in the way I wanted to play, but injuries are part of football and I want to show people I can come back and play there.”

“[I left on loan] because the manager arrived late we didn’t know what was the plan of the club.”

“At Chelsea there were a lot of defenders. I knew I needed to play regularly so I didn’t want to stay on the bench and wait for my chance after two or three months. He agreed with me. I spoke with him and I knew at Chelsea they had five central defenders already. He plays with four at the back, so there are only two who play. I didn’t want to wait and he completely agreed.”

“No, [I don’t think about leaving Chelsea] at the moment. Everton is a very good club. For me it’s a good chance to come in and I will give my all.”

-Kurt Zouma; August 2018

Zouma signed a new long-term deal before his Stoke City loan last season, tying him to Chelsea through 2023 and giving the club plenty of leverage in any transfer negotiations. If he is to leave, Chelsea will certainly look to extract maximum value out of the deal. But with neither Cahill nor David Luiz getting any younger, there may be a spot for Zouma at Chelsea once again, just as there was three years ago, before an awkward landing on a cold February day in 2016 derailed his Chelsea dreams so drastically.

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