Everton eye permanent Zouma deal with Chelsea set to demand £30m


Everton are keen to secure a permanent deal to sign Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma following his successful loan spell at Goodison Park last season.

The France international played a key role under Marco Silva last term, and Goal can confirm the former Watford boss wants Zouma to return so as to retain continuity in his backline.

Chelsea are likely to ask for upwards of £30 million ($38m) for the 24-year-old, who has four years left to run on his current contract at Stamford Bridge.

He has spent the past two years out on loan, plying his trade for Stoke City in 2017-18 before moving to Everton, but his future will not be decided until a new manager is appointed in west London.

Frank Lampard remains in talks with Chelsea over the position after being excused from pre-season training by current club Derby County.

Chelsea will have to pay £4m to release Lampard from his contract at Pride Park and they are locked in talks to bring up to eight people in from his backroom staff at the Rams from last season.

A deal is expected to be completed in the coming days, and several previous loanees, including Zouma, are waiting on the outcome of those talks before their futures are decided.

With Gary Cahill having been released following the expiration of his contract on Sunday, there is a slot open within Chelsea's squad for a centre-back that Zouma may be required to fill.

Lampard, though, could opt to promote one of Wales international Ethan Ampadu, England Under-21 captain Jake Clarke-Salter or Fikayo Tomori, who won Derby's Player of the Season award under Lampard, to the first-team squad.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have announced that Gonzalo Higuain has returned to Juventus after they opted not to pay the £15.7m ($20.5m) required to extend his loan for another season nor spend £31.6m ($41m) to make the move permanent.

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That means that Mateo Kovacic will be Chelsea's sole incoming signing in the transfer window, with a deal in place for him to leave Real Madrid permanently for £40.3m ($51m).

The Croatia international, who spent last season on loan with the Blues, was accidentally unveiled on Saturday on the club's 'Fifth Stand' app, though he is to be officially announced as a Chelsea player via the club's traditional media channels

The deal gets around the club's two-window transfer ban due to the Blues already holding the registration for Kovacic from last season.