Following the signing of Mohamed Salah, Jose Mourinho announced confidently that Chelsea were done in the January transfer window.
However, Manchester United's interest in Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma may force the Blues to try to sign him now, rather than in the summer as they had previously planned.
A report by Simon Jones of Mail Online claims:
Manchester United have an interest in St Etienne defender Kurt Zouma but believe the 19-year-old is destined for Chelsea.
Chelsea could yet bring the deal forward to this week to ensure United miss out.
Per James Dickenson of The Express, Mourinho has previously hinted at a move for Zouma, saying:
As you can see Chelsea thinks about the future and when we think about the future we have scouts and contacts.
We contact clubs, we contact agents and players when we have permission from clubs to do it which is the case obviously.
Mourinho is building a youthful Chelsea team. Zouma, 19, would be an ideal replacement for captain John Terry, who is now 33 years old and reaching an age where he will play less games.
However, he will also be viewed as an ideal candidate for David Moyes at United, who is keen to shore up his defence ahead of potential summer departures.
Nemanja Vidic's contract is due to expire, and per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, the experienced defender could be set to leave Old Trafford.
Rio Ferdinand is another player who could be leaving United in the summer, with a report by David McDonnell of Mirror Football claiming he will move to MLS.
Although Zouma is a player of United's calibre, it is unlikely Moyes will make a move for the defender, with the addition of a more experienced centre-back a more pressing matter.
A profile of the defender by talkSPORT highlights Zouma's natural technical ability and potential, but it also points out that he is still raw and not ready to become a regular with a top Premier League side:
The defender is known for his speed and strength, as well as his aerial ability. He is composed when facing attackers in one-on-one situations and has also shown an eye for a raking long pass. He has, however, been criticised at times for his poor positioning.
Were Chelsea to have their hand forced and sign Zouma before they planned to, an ideal situation would be to send the player out on loan in order to ensure he continues playing regularly and continues developing.
The Blues have the money to complete a deal for Zouma now, so in that respect, it would not compromise them. However, it is important as a young player learning the game that he is tested in a competitive atmosphere.
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