Kurt Zouma has been a start for Saint Etienne since before his 17th birthday.

Kurt Zouma has been a start for Saint Etienne since before his 17th birthday.

Among the half a dozen clubs showing a real interest in Kurt Zouma of Saint Etienne are Manchester United, who despite a long list of credible centre backs have plenty of problems defensively, which might lead to a January acquisition of the 18-year old French defender.

Zouma, who was born in France but is also eligible to play for the Central African Republic, has already played a few times for the French U-21 side, and has been touted as a future building block for the national team. He has been playing for Saint Etienne since the age of 16, already appearing 48 times for the club in Ligue 1, scoring 4 goals.

According to Didier Deschamps, Zouma will one day be the captain of the national team, which is quite high praise for someone still not out of his teens. That has attracted the attention of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen and others, but Manchester United have been showing interest in the player for quite some time, and should it come to a bidding war, they should be the team in the lead for his services.

According to reports in England, they might even be needy enough to bring him over in January. The era of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic is drawing to an end, and it’ll be quite surprising if two out of the trio that includes Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans will be starting centre backs for the club if it is to remain one of the best in Europe, not to mention a constant title contender for years to come in the Premier League.

There is no rush to sell him before his contract is up (he’s signed until 2017), but Saint Etienne will sell him eventually if there’s enough pressure from him and the clubs. It’ll cost, probably, at least €12 million if not more.