One of the most sought after centre backs in Europe this summer is Eliaquim Mangala of FC Porto, but it seems his price might be a bit out of everyone’s range, including Chelsea, so they will turn their attention to younger and more affordable Kurt Zouma from Saint-Etienne.
Mangala has been the primary defensive target for Chelsea for quite some time. The 22 year-old French centre back was good enough with the Portuguese champions this season to earn himself a call-up to the French national team after being an integral part of the U-21 side in previous years.
Mangala scored 4 league goals for Porto in 2012-2013, and was attracting interest from Manchester United and others before the summer began. But like all Porto players, the asking price for him is extremely high, maybe even too high for Chelsea to match.
According to Record, Porto are refusing to enter negotiations with anyone for the player, which means the only way to sign him will be through a release clause, which stands at €50 million. While teams like Chelsea are willing to become a little bit spendy after two seasons without a league title, paying so much for a central defender is a bit of a stretch, also considering the fact that Porto paid €6.5 million for him two years ago.
If it won’t be Mangala, it’ll be another French defender. Currently with the French team in the U-20 World Cup, Zouma, only 18, is considered one of the best young defensive talents in Europe, turning plenty of heads through his first two seasons with Saint-Etienne, playing in 40 league matches since joining the senior team in 2011.
Zouma probably doesn’t offer the current ability Mangala does, but Mourinho is reminded of Rapahel Varane when he sees Zouma – a teenage centre back who can physically handle almost every striker in Europe, and probably worthy of being given the chance to play at a very young age.
Zouma will cost less than Mangala, but probably won’t offer the same immediate impact like the Porto defender. Still, paying so much for any player seems a bit too much to consider, which will probably focus Chelsea on the Saint-Etienne defender eventually.