Jan Vertonghen is set to depart Tottenham Hotspur at the end of the season on a free transfer with a host of clubs interested in the service of the Belgian. The ex-Ajax player has been a great servant of the club since he arrived in 2012 and it would not be easy to replace him.
However, it seems like the manager has identified a new target in Kurt Zouma. RMC Sport reports that Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with the defender and bring him to Tottenham this summer. With Chelsea aggressively recruiting players, we have to see how the board responds to any advances for the defender.
What would Zouma bring to Spurs?
The French player joined Chelsea in 2014, at a time when Mourinho was in charge of the west London side. Initially not a regular in the first eleven, he was sent on several loan spells, particularly to Stoke City and Everton. However, recently the Frenchman has become a regular for the club with him making 22 appearances for his side this season.
The 25-year-old has a decent passing range, with him completing 87.3% of his attempted passes this season. In today’s football world, managers demand that the build-up play of the side start from the back and for that to happen, the defenders must pass the ball accurately. Zouma would be the perfect fit for the Portuguese manager in that respect.
The France international is also extremely agile when it comes to aerial duels. This term he has won four aerial duels per game, making him an extremely productive player in set-piece situation. His physicality can be attributed as the main reason for his effectiveness, and that has also let him make four clearances per 90 minutes.
Having talked about his strengths, his drawbacks should also not be forgotten. The former Saint-Etienne man is not a very neat tackler of the ball, making just one tackle per match in the Premier League. This figure goes down to 0.8 in the Champions League, which should not excite someone looking for an able centre-back. Also, the fact that he commits 1.2 fouls per game signals an underlying issue.
What would be his role at Spurs?
This term Mourinho has often played with three centre-backs, and the roles have been handed over to Toby Alderweireld, Tanganga and Eric Dier. While Tanganga and Alderweireld have been decent in their respective roles, Dier has been made to play out of position, which has taken a toll on his performances. Moreover, with Vertonghen likely to leave at the end of the season, the gaffer certainly needs a replacement.
Zouma is someone who has worked closely with Mourinho and is an experienced centre-back when it comes to the Premier League. The ex-Real Madrid manager knows the player out and out, and there would be no problem of chemistry between the two. The fact that Mourinho wants a player he has managed before shows that he holds him in high regard, and under the Portuguese manager, Zouma would expect to get better at tackling and not giving away so many fouls.
Stats from Whoscored.