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Chelsea expect to have Zouma back from Everton for the start of preseason — report

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Negotiating tactic or the real thing?

According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton’s hopes of keeping Kurt Zouma for at least another season are not looking too good as Chelsea are expecting the on-loan defender back for the start of preseason.

Whether that’s a negotiating tactic from the Blues or a real intent to re-integrate the 24-year-old, who has spent the last two seasons out on loan, in part to help him finalize recovery from the ACL injury he suffered back in 2016, remains to be seen. The Echo make it clear that Everton will do everything in their power to keep Zouma, which is an intention we’ve heard repeatedly over the last couple months.

This situation has plenty of moving parts, including Chelsea’s willingness to deal, Zouma’s own preferences (he remains “coy” on the situation) — two standard factors — as well as the club’s transfer ban situation (still in place, for now) and the future of David Luiz, who has yet to sign on for next season.

If the veteran center back is leaving, bringing back Zouma will be a no-brainer just to make up numbers, if nothing else. But he’s also done very well at Everton this season, as evidenced by their strong desire to keep him, and so he certainly may yet prove useful at Chelsea then as well. Either way, he has a contract for four (4!) more years here; there’s no reason to make hasty decision.