Manchester United are ready to make a move for a defender who could eventually replace Nemanja Vidic, after reports emerged that the Red Devils have been monitoring Saint Etienne's Kurt Zouma. The youngster claims he rejected a move to Manchester City in January 2012, something which would no doubt make him popular amongst the United fanbase. talkSPORT's Transfer Spotlight has more...
Name: Kurt Zouma
Date of birth: 27 October 1994
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Position: Central defender
International appearances: 1 (France U19)
What's the latest?
Kurt Zouma recently claimed that he rejected a £170,000-a-month offer from Manchester City in the January 2012 transfer window, saying he preferred to continue his development at Saint Etienne. Since then, City appear to have backed down, but rivals Manchester United are ready to spoil their plans with their own pursuit of the centre-back. Reports claim the Red Devils will offer Saint-Etienne £9m to convince them to part with their young prospect, with the French club keen to improve his current deal.
Did you know?
1) Zouma's first steps towards a professional career came when he joined the French Football Federation's Dijon-based 'Pole Espoir' centre in 2007. The centre, overseen by former Nancy player Gilles Salou, is designed to prepare youngsters for joining the youth ranks of professional clubs, and indeed, Zouma would go on to join the Saint Etienne academy in 2009 following two years learning under Salou.
2) The defender received his first France Under-16 call-up within months of joining Saint Etienne, and in less than a year he had moved up to Under-17 level. His strong performances with the Under-17s saw him capped 17 times between 2010 and 2011, and Saint Etienne soon offered him his first professional contract as a result.
3) Zouma made his senior debut in a 3-1 Coupe de la Ligue win against Bordeaux in August 2011. Injuries to key players at the start of the 2011-12 Ligue 1 campaign ensured that the defender would go on make seven starting appearances in Saint Etienne's first eight league games that year. He scored two goals and played 21 games in total during the 2011/12 Ligue 1 season.
4) The defender is known for his speed and strength, as well as his aerial ability. Composed when facing attackers in one-on-one situations, he has also shown an eye for a raking long pass. He has, however, been criticised at times for his poor positioning. Though predominately a centre-back, he can also fill in at right-back.
5) Zouma has made 10 league appearances for Saint Etienne this season, and the side currently hold the third best defensive record in this year's Ligue 1. With Saint Etienne occupying eighth place, only a point behind Bordeaux, their excellent displays at the back have been vitally important due to their more average form in front of goal. It could take a significant sum to convince them to part company with the young defender, therefore.
“The interest is flattering, sure, but frankly, I don't pay much attention. I stay focused on my work on the pitch. It's my agent that handles everything.” Zouma speaking to But! magazine in November 2011 about a potential move abroad
Should Kurt Zouma join Manchester United, or is there another defender you'd rather see at the club? Leave a comment below and have your say...