Kurt Zouma has revealed Jose Mourinho pointed to how Raphael Varane emerged under the tutelage of the Portuguese coach to help convince the youngster to join Chelsea.
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During his time at Real Madrid, Mourinho turned Varane from a promising youngster into an accomplished international centre-back.
When he phoned Zouma, 19, to outline his plans for the powerful defender, Mourinho mentioned Varane's rise to prominence, suggesting he could do the same to help Zouma's career take off.
"He spoke about it on the telephone. He cited him as an example. I had had him in the back of my mind," said Zouma, for whom Chelsea paid 15 million euros before immediately loaning him back to Saint-Etienne.
"Jose Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world. Moreover, I've been a Chelsea fan since I was little. It's true that since I've been a pro, I've always had a niggle, injuries or my suspension. I am perhaps lacking a full season. But by going to Chelsea, I'm going to learn. I'm ready and I am going to flourish there."
Zouma, who made his Ligue 1 debut at 17, had been watched by a number of clubs, notably Manchester City. However, Mourinho's call, and the former translator's language skills, helped convince him Chelsea represented his future.
The defender added: "I had been forewarned he would call. He spoke French to me and I understood everything. He clearly told me he wanted me. I immediately jumped at the chance. The two clubs contacted each other, and they struck a deal in the final moments of the transfer window. Everyone's happy."