Stoke City have secured the signing of Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma on a season-long loan deal, they announced on Friday.
The French centre-back is believed to have turned down a host of sides from around Europe, and has opted for the West Midlands club after completing a medical at the Potters’ Clayton Wood training complex.
“Kurt is undoubtedly one of the most talented young defenders in the game, so naturally his arrival will enhance our playing squad for the forthcoming campaign,” beamed Stoke manager Mark Hughes.
“He first caught my attention as a 17-year-old during his time at Saint-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.”
Zouma — already a French international — has made 71 appearances for Premier League champions Chelsea and remains part of their long-term plans, but Blues boss Antonio Conte wanted him to get regular game time this campaign after suffering a serious knee injury in February 2016.
That injury — picked up against Manchester United — limited Zouma to just 13 appearances for the west Londoners last season. Punch