Transfer news

Three clubs still in for Zouma

June 21, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Anzhi Makhachkala are believed to be the three clubs whose interest in St Etienne defender Kurt Zouma has not cooled in the face of the Ligue 1 club's €10 million asking price for the player.

Kurt Zouma
PA PhotosSt Etienne will not let Kurt Zouma go cheaply

Currently with France's Under-20 squad at the World Cup in Turkey, Zouma, 18, has already established himself in the first team at Les Verts, and has been the subject of frenzied transfer speculation ever since making his top-flight debut early in the 2011-12 campaign.

The centre-back’s agent, David Venditelli, told that his young client "prefers England" should he move, giving Chelsea hope they will beat off competition, which has already been thinned out by St Etienne's determination to keep hold of one of their prized assets.

"Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United were interested, but they cooled when they learned of St Etienne's asking price. There is, however, an English club and a German side still in the running," Venditelli said.

Although they would undoubtedly be tempted by an over-the-odds bid for their promising teenager, St Etienne have repeatedly stated that only striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be allowed to leave the club this summer.

Zouma, who rejected a move to Manchester City during his maiden Ligue 1 season, told Le Progres in February that he had no regrets about remaining with the club he joined in 2009 and with whom he extended his contract to 2017 last season.

"Going abroad when you're young, it's getting carried away and setting yourself a mission almost-impossible. If I had to do it again, I would without hesitation," he told the Lyon-based newspaper.

"I signed my first professional contract in 2011. It's always nice to prolong your contract with the team where you have come through the ranks. The club has confidence in me. Personally, I've always wanted to stay here, despite the approaches I had last summer. I'm the player in the squad who has the longest contract. It's an honour for me."