French teenager to improve Chelsea’s disastrous defensive record
Having conceded seven goals across their last two Premier League games and only kept a single clean sheet in their last 10 top-flight fixtures, Chelsea’s defensive troubles are threatening their tilt at the title.
Jose Mourinho’s first stint at Chelsea was built around clean sheets, shutting out the opposition at least 20 times in each of his three full seasons in charge. Chelsea kept more clean sheets than every other Premier League in two of these campaigns too.
Despite their failure to keep opponents at bay of late, Chelsea’s odds are only 5/1 to win the Premier League, with only five points separating them from league-leaders Arsenal.
A new defender could help in January, especially if David Luiz is allowed to leave after featuring minimally this season, and it is the name of Kurt Zouma that is being most heavily linked.
Zouma is one of the most highly-regarded teenage defenders in world football and despite being just 19, he has already been called up for France.
A move from Saint-Etienne in the near future seems nailed on, with Monaco, Inter Milan, Napoli and Manchester United among the clubs previously showing an interest.
It is Zouma’s physical attributes that are the most noteworthy, as he has been successful in 80 per cent of his headed duels this season and he has only been beaten once by a dribble since the start of the last campaign.
Interestingly, the closing of the January transfer window is also when Zouma would be free to return to action, as he is currently serving a 10-game ban in France for a slightly reckless challenge that broke the leg of Thomas Guerbert of Sochaux.
Teenagers have struggled to even gain first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge since the turn of the century, let alone hold down a regular place and the capture of Zouma could prove the next step towards assembling a younger squad.