In the dying moments of the Premier League’s transfer window just a few final transactions were completed, one being Everton’s loan signing of French centre-back Kurt Zouma.
Originally on the books of Chelsea, Zouma is now set for his second successive loan spell away from The Blues following a beneficial temporary move to Stoke City. Still just 23-years-old, Zouma joins fellow signings Lucas Digne, André Gomes, and Bernard at Everton, and will likely lineup next to Yerry Mina who himself just joined from Barcelona.
Kurt Zouma has been a name floating around the football world for seemingly forever. The strong centre-back’s burst onto the football scene originated in Saint-Étienne, where he made his first senior team appearance at the tender age of 16.
Strong, quick, promising, and driven, Zouma quickly became sought-after property not only in France but across Europe. A move away from Les Verts was inevitable, and Zouma left Saint-Étienne for Chelsea in June of 2014.
Chelsea presented a new opportunity to Zouma, who impressed almost immediately in London. From 2014 to 2016 the Frenchman made a total of 58 appearances for The Blues, but Zouma’s future at the club was suddenly curtailed due to a devastating knee injury suffered in early 2016.
The ACL that Zouma ruptured in February of 2016 severely limited his ability to play for over a year. 2016/17 saw Zouma make just 13 appearances for Chelsea, and with the emergence of Andres Christensen it quickly became clear that Zouma might need time away from Chelsea to re-establish himself.
Stoke City brought a rusty Kurt Zouma on board for their 2017/18 Premier League campaign, and despite the team’s dysfunctionalities the French centre-back began to show again why he had been so highly-touted for so many years. In Stoke-on-Trent Zouma not only proved that his defensive capabilities had not disappeared, but also showed a ball-playing ability that hadn’t been evident before.
The imposing centre-back completed an average of 2.5 long balls per game per WhoScored, becoming a key part of both Mark Hughes’ and Paul Lambert’s passing schemes.
Having demonstrated his ability to recover from a career-altering injury, stay healthy for a season, and develop and change his style of play, Zouma seems to be set for a return to his previous, dominant self. If Everton manager Marco Silva can harness Zouma’s improving technical ability and well-established defensive strengths, the Toffees very well may have secured one of the best defensive signings of the window.