Kurt Zouma is currently busy at Chelsea training camp under new head coach Frank Lampard, but that’s hardly a guarantee that he will stay with the team for next season.
With nearly 40 players (35 in camp, plus a few more still absent) vying for a little over 20 spots, there are plenty of hard decisions to make. At Zouma’s position alone, there are at least six or seven players vying for the center back positions — David Luiz, Rüdiger, Christensen, Ampadu, Tomori, and Zouma himself, plus the likes of Jake Clarke-Salter, who’s not in camp, and Marc Guehi, who is.
It’s certainly not beyond Zouma’s potential to beat out most of that competition, but it’s unlikely that he would be as high up in the pecking order, at least immediately, as he was at Everton last season, where he started 29 of 38 Premier League matches. The Toffees remain hopeful that due to those circumstances, Zouma could yet want to return for next season as well, either on loan or perhaps in a more permanent arrangement. But unlike earlier in the year, manager Marco Silva is making contingency plans as well in case Zouma ends up staying with Chelsea instead.
“I am hopeful. I think I am hopeful like all of our fans are but I have to tell you that we have different solutions because we cannot just have one solution. I have different solutions in my mind but I am hopeful and if we can give our fans this fantastic feeling it will be key.
“But, if not, we have to go in a different way but it is part of the market, part of creating a squad. After that position we have three or four more to strengthen.”
-Marco Silva; source: Liverpool Echo
As in the case of Bakayoko and a crowded midfield, Chelsea and Zouma have multiple permutations and considerations to juggle and balance. The 24-year-old has four years left on his Chelsea contract, and before the ACL injury, he looked like he could be anchoring the Chelsea backline for years to come. Perhaps that plan will yet come to fruition.