Summer Scout - Kurt Zouma
The Summer Scout eyes French defender Kurt Zouma, spotted at the Under-20 World Cup.
Last Updated: 21/05/14 12:05pm
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The latest player to be spotlighted is France's Kurt Zouma.
The scout reports...
Even before the Under-20 World Cup, Zouma was widely regarded as one of the most impressive young defenders in Europe.
We took the chance to further check on Zouma during the World Cup in Turkey, and it is safe to say he did not disappoint as he starred in the latter stages to help France to the title and added to his already burgeoning reputation during the Championship.
Zouma, despite being just 18, already has two full seasons of football under his belt with St Etienne - the club he has spent his entire career with.
Zouma began playing with his local junior side FC Vaulx-en-Velin, from where he was taken on by the local training centre le Pole espoir de Dijon - which is run in conjunction with the French Football Federation. He graduated in 2009, at which point he was signed by St Etienne.
He starred for St Etienne's junior sides and was also recognised by France very early on - called up to their Under-16 side.
In April 2011 he was handed his first professional deal by Les Verts, signing a three-year contract. In August he made his first-team bow in the Coupe de la Ligue. Within a matter of weeks he was a first-team regular.
12-months after his first deal, St Etienne tied Zouma down to a new four-year deal. But this was only after a move to Manchester City was turned down by the player, who opted to remain in France.
City's offer was only the opening salvo in what St Etienne will know is already a losing battle to keep one of Europe's top young players.
Now clubs from every major league in Europe are on Zouma's trail, and it is clear to see why.
Zouma is an imposing figure at 6ft 2in, and he is very much a modern-day defender - an athlete. His reading of the game is excellent and probably his main asset along with his physical prowess.
Likened to Marcel Desailly by some, but it remains to be seen if he has the technical ability of the AC Milan and Chelsea legend. But that is not to take away from what Zouma already does have in his locker.
He is a very good young defender who already looks ready to make an impact, which is why he is so in-demand - whilst he will no doubt learn and progress from a move, he already looks ready for a first-team place wherever that may be.
The scout says...
St Etienne have done a top notch job with Zouma, and they have been rewarded by blooding him so early - but now they face a huge fight on their hands to keep him.
If St Etienne can keep hold of him beyond this summer they will be doing very well, but they will be well rewarded when they do decide to cash-in on their prized asset.
The Scout rating...
Shooting: 5 out of 10
Passing: 7 out of 10
Tackling: 8 out of 10
Heading: 8 out of 10
Pace: 9 out of 10
Vision: 7 out of 10
Current ability: 7 out of 10
Potential ability: 10 out of 10
OVERALL SCOUT RATING:61/80
Current value: £10million
Potential value: £30million
You have read our opinion of Kurt Zouma - now we want your views. Have you seen Kurt Zouma in action? Do you agree with our assessment? Do you think he will make it?
Get in touch, either using the form below, email or the scout's Twitter feed - @skysportsscout