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‘He’s champion of England’, Jose Mourinho urges Chelsea to hold on to 24-year-old defender

Former Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho has urged the Blues to keep hold of defender Kurt Zouma amid the recent speculation linking him with a move to Everton.

The France international has spent the past two seasons on loan with Stoke City and Everton, but he has been fancied to make an impact with the west London side this term.

Blues boss Frank Lampard has already stated that he wants to work with the centre-back and Mourinho has added up to the comments by suggesting that the club should stick with the defender for the long-term.

He told Sky Sports News: “I just give an example; Chelsea needs a centre-back – Kurt Zouma! You don’t need to buy, you don’t need to spend.

“Zouma! He’s a champion of England, he played for Chelsea, he played for Stoke in the Premier League, he played for Everton in the Premier League, played for France.

“He’s your player, he’s on loan. Where are you going to buy a better player than him? You have him!”

The Toffees are understood to be planning another approach for Zouma before the transfer deadline, but the Blues are unlikely to sanction the sale, considering there are only two more senior options in David Luiz and Andreas Christensen available with Antonio Rudiger still recovering after a knee surgery.

Moreover, Zouma does not appear in the mood to force through a departure and he could find himself in the starting lineup when the Blues make the trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Premier League opener.

Zouma played through the entire 90 minutes of the recent friendly against Red Bull Salzburg which the Blues won by a 5-3 scoreline. Christian Pulisic and Ross Barkley were among the leading performers during the game, but there are still concerns regarding the defensive display with just one clean sheet in five pre-season matches.

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