Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has stressed that he has no plans of parting ways with defender Kurt Zouma, who has been linked with a permanent move to Everton this summer.
The France international spent the previous campaign on loan with the Toffees, and he was particularly impressive during the final months of the season where the club had a resurgence under Marco Silva.
As such, the centre-back has been linked with a permanent switch to the Merseyside outfit this summer, but that appears unlikely to happen with Lampard eager to work with the 24-year-old.
Speaking in a press conference, the new Blues boss spoke about the qualities of the former Saint-Etienne graduate and clarified his stance over the future of the French defender.
“Kurt is a very good defender, a very good person and professional, and I want him here, simple as that. We are competitive with the centre-backs we’ve got in the team. He had a very good season at Everton and I understand why they want him, but he’s a Chelsea player and I want him.” he was quoted as saying by the club’s official website.
With Antonio Rudiger still on the sidelines following a knee surgery, Zouma has the opportunity to potentially compete for the central defensive position alongside regular choice David Luiz.
Andreas Christensen and club graduate Fikayo Tomori remain the other options at hand, but Zouma stands the better chance of cementing a starting spot, given his vast experience playing in the English top-flight.
Zouma has featured in each of the club’s three games in pre-season with 45 minutes of action. However, that could change during the forthcoming friendly against Barcelona where Lampard is likely to extend the gametime for the players, who could start the season opener against Manchester United next month.