As the clock ticks down, Everton’s search for a new central defender continues. Ashley Williams’ loan move to Stoke City has left Marco Silva incredibly short at the back, and reinforcements simply must be secured before the window slams shut on Thursday evening.
A whole host of names have been linked with moves to Goodison Park in recent weeks, but deals for the likes of Yerry Mina and Marcos Rojo now appear highly unlikely. Temporary solutions must now be explored, and one currently resides in West London.
Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma spent last season on loan at Stoke himself, and it appears that his parent club is willing to allow him to leave once again on similar terms. The Toffees are understood to have a made their move, and there’s growing confidence that all will soon be signed, sealed and delivered.
It won’t have escaped the notice of Everton fans that Zouma suffered the ignominy of Premier League relegation last season, however. He was at the heart of a Stoke defence that proved it wasn’t strong enough to survive at this level, and many will be concerned that he’s not up to the job.
Fortunately, the stats suggest otherwise:
|CLUB Stoke City||AGE 23Y 9M|
|POS DEF||HEIGHT 6FT 2IN|
Avg Goal for
Avg Goals against
Mins per goal for
Mins per goal against
Shots for per game
Points per game
Zouma appeared in 34 of Stoke’s 38 Premier League outings last season, and the side’s absolute collapse in form without him hint at a player far more important than many may have realised.
The 4 games Zouma missed ended in 4 defeats, with average goals conceded rocketing up from 1.6 to 3.8. With such disastrous displays coinciding with the imposing Frenchman’s absence, it’s tempting to draw the conclusion that he was, in fact, one of the few things keeping the heads of a dismal team above water.
Given the fact that Stoke were relegated by just 3 points, there’s certainly a valid argument to be made that they may have escaped had Zouma also been available for those 4 games he missed.
While he may not be the big name some Everton fans were hoping for, the 23-year-old Zouma has the magic combination of youth and experience at Premier League level. He will have learnt a lot from last season’s toils and will be a better player for it.
Come the end of the season, this deal could look like a last minute masterstroke from Silva.
The Acca Smacker
For fans across the continent, the excitement is building. A new season is here and optimism is rife. Will new signings stun? Will titles be won? Everyone hopes, but nobody knows. Domestic football’s back, and we could be happier.
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