?Chelsea’s loan army has earned so much (largely deserved) criticism in recent years, but we often forget that it can be used for good. The perfect example of this is French centre back Kurt Zouma.
After he moved to Stamford Bridge in 2014, the sky was the limit for Zouma. He forced his way into the starting lineup for the 2015/16 season, and Chelsea looked to have found their long-term replacement for John Terry. But then, in one heartbreaking second, it all came crashing down.
He suffered a serious knee injury after landing awkwardly, and his screams of agony echoed around London. Zouma missed nine months of his career, and was then sent out on loan to prove his fitness. He did that with ?Stoke City. The next challenge was to prove his standard of football had not dropped, and he has done that with ?Everton.
He has passed every test, and it’s time for ?Chelsea to welcome him back to their squad.
The Blues’ defence has raised more questions than answers this season. Can ?David Luiz concentrate for more than five minutes? Can Andreas Christensen handle the pressure? Is ‘Mr #Hustle’ ?Antonio Rudiger more than a series of optimistic hashtags on Twitter?
Chelsea need someone to come in and bring a breath of fresh air to their defence, and Zouma is that man. Before his injury, he showcased scary athleticism, the sort of which the Kickboxer character who inspired his name would be proud of. Even after the injury, he remains a physical freak, with all the natural qualities to be one of the game’s best.
But, make no mistake about it, Zouma does not rely on athleticism to dominate. He never ceases to fight for lost causes and plays for the team on the front of his shirt, not the name on the back. Defending is his passion, and Chelsea need characters like this in the squad.
Too often have the Blues’ players faced questions over their mentality and whether they even care about the club. Fans deserve to see players who will put their body on the line to win matches, just as Terry did for a countless seasons. If Chelsea let him, Zouma could become the next dominant force in the spine of their team.
Throughout his young career, he has earned comparisons to ?Raphael Varane. The World Cup winner needed just one chance to impress and he got that at ??Real Madrid, and Varane is now one of the world’s elite. Give Zouma another chance in the first team, and he will blossom into the same.
Plus, his middle name is Happy, and how can you not love that?