Kurt Zouma has joined Stoke City on a one-year loan from Chelsea for the upcoming season.
The young defender left French side Saint-Étienne in 2014 for London-based Chelsea and has gone on to make 71 appearances for the Blues. In February 2016, Zouma ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a match against Manchester United, requiring surgery. The French international was ruled out for nearly 9 months and has since struggled to break back into Antonio Conte’s first XI.
On Friday, Zouma signed a new 6-year deal with the champions and subsequently joined Stoke on a season-long loan deal. The 22-year old completed his medical at Stoke’s training ground earlier this week and will join up with Mark Hughes’ side for the remainder of their pre-season.
The Potters’ boss described Zouma as “undoubtedly one of the most talented young defenders in the game”.
He went on to say, “We have prioritised adding further strength in depth to defensive positions this summer, and we have certainly done that by fending off any number of clubs who were all interested in taking Kurt on loan.”
“He first caught my attention as a 17-year-old during his time at St. Etienne, and in fact, I actually tried to sign him at that point in his career, but whilst that deal never materialised I am delighted to finally get the opportunity to work with him now.”
“On his day he is one of the most impressive defenders in the league, and whilst his injury, unfortunately, hampered his progress at Chelsea last season, we are certain that we can give him the platform to recapture the form he showed prior to his setback.”
Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo said it was “fantastic” Zouma had “chosen to commit his future to Chelsea”.
He added: “Now he has the opportunity to play regularly in the Premier League and we will be monitoring his progress closely while he is at Stoke.”
OGC Nice and Marseille had also made offers for the Chelsea man.