Thomas Tuchel insists Kurt Zouma was a ‘crucial member’ of Chelsea’s team last campaign after claims that the club are looking to sell the Frenchman this summer.
Last month, reports in France claimed that the Blues are open to offers for Zouma, with Jose Mourinho interested in bringing the defender to Roma.
Chelsea are also targeting a move for French central defender Jules Kounde and have reportedly included Zouma as part of their bid to Sevilla.
But, it’s believed that Zouma’s preference is to remain in the Premier League with a transfer move to West Ham a possible option.
Zouma was handed his first pre-season minutes on Sunday in Chelsea’s win over Arsenal and speaking after the match, Tuchel said he is already well aware of his quality and praised his contribution last season.
‘Kurt comes from a very different situation,’ Tuchel said of Zouma. ‘Kurt was part of the team for half a year, I know him exactly, what I can demand from him, what he can give to the team. He was part of a very successful half a season.
‘He was a very lively part of it, maybe not in minutes but I want to remember he was a crucial member of the team that won 2-0 against Atletico, for example.
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‘So when he was needed, and he had some tough decisions against him, but when he delivered. So the situation isn’t comparable to Ruben [Loftus-Cheek].
‘Ruben needs to show now everything in some weeks if that’s possible. For Kurt, it’s different as I know what he can deliver. It was his first 45 minutes of the season and from now on, we go.’