Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has completed a loan switch to Stoke City after penning a new six-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old centre-back was restricted to three Premier League starts for the champions last season after making his comeback from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
Antonio Rudiger's arrival from Roma earlier this month placed Zouma further down the pecking order at Chelsea and he will spend 2017-18 at the bet365 Stadium, although a long-term contract extension shows he remains in his parent club's long-term plans.
"It is fantastic Kurt has chosen to commit his future to Chelsea," said Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo,
"He has shown his talent since joining us three years ago, and has returned from a serious injury with a fantastic attitude. Now he has the opportunity to play regularly in the Premier League and we will be monitoring his progress closely while he is at Stoke."
Happy to announce that I have signed a new long term contract with & will be joining on loan this season July 21, 2017
Stoke boss Mark Hughes is still seemingly keen on further defensive reinforcements, although he is reportedly facing competition from West Brom and Crystal Palace for the signature of Bruno Martins Indi.
Martins Indi impressed during a season-long loan spell with Stoke last term.
On Zouma, Hughes said: "Kurt is undoubtedly one of the most talented young defenders in the game, so naturally his arrival will enhance our playing squad for the forthcoming campaign.
"We have prioritised adding further strength in depth to defensive positions this summer, and we have certainly done that by fending off any number of clubs who were all interested in taking Kurt on loan.
"On his day he is one of the most impressive defenders in the league, and whilst injury unfortunately hampered his progress at Chelsea last season, we are certain that we can give him the platform to recapture the form he showed prior to his setback."
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