Arsenal are reportedly set to join a long list of clubs interested in securing the services of Saint Etienne defender Kurt Zouma in January, according to reports in The Express.
The 19 year old centre half is currently under a 10 match suspension until February following a leg breaking tackle made on Sochaux midfielder Thoma Guerbert last month. He is considered as one of the hottest prospects in European football and has been linked with a switch to a number of European sides since the summer.
The report suggests Chelsea are the front runners for Zouma, who was previously targeted by Liverpool. But it seems that Arsenal are now ready to stake their interest in the St Etienne centre half, who is valued at £12 million.
It further states that Arsene Wenger was given a glowing recommendation by his scout and former Gunners defender Giles Grimandi, who is advising the club to make a move for Zouma.
The Frenchman began playing with his local junior side FC Vaulx, from where he was taken on by the local training centre which is run by the French Football Federation. In 2009 he was signed by St Etienne where he impressed in the youth team along the way, enjoying a good cup run. His stints in the youth team didn’t go far amiss from the French setup and was called up to the U-17 national squad to play in the U-17 World Cup.
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He impressed in the youth setup and made his debut for the Les Verts at the beginning of the 2011-2012, aged just 16 which is incredible considering a centre back is often needed to be the most experienced part of the team. He signed a new 4 year contract in 2012 which will keep him in Ligue 1 until 2016.
He is an imposing figure at 6 ft 2 in, and is very much a modern day defender. His reading of the game is excellent and probably his main asset along with his physical prowess. He is often likened to Marcel Desailly, but it remains to be seen if he has the technical ability of the AC Milan and Chelsea legend. He is a calm and collective defender, often playing the ball out of defence with composure. He manages to spread the ball well and his pass accuracy is excellent.
Despite being just 18, he already has two full seasons of football under his belt with St Etienne which is quite an achievement. The Gunners will face tough competition from Chelsea but Wenger’s reputation of nurturing young talent could give the Frenchman the edge over Mourinho, a coach that expects immediate results from players. It remains to be seen whether will be willing to spend that amount of money on a young defender.
Should we sign him? Share your thoughts in the comments below.