Kurt Zouma to fight for Chelsea career during loan spell with Everton
Kurt Zouma said he remains determined to fight for a career at Chelsea despite agreeing to join Everton on loan this season in search of regular game time.
The 23-year-old defender moved to Goodison Park on a season-long deal after talks with new Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri, but the agreement does not include an option for Everton to make his stay permanent.
And Zouma insisted that he is not yet ready to give up on his dream of becoming a regular starter at Chelsea.
"I will go back, yes," he said. "I have always believed in myself since I started playing football at 16. I have always wanted to show myself at Chelsea since I have been there.
"I know my injuries stopped me in the way I wanted to play but injuries are part of football and I want to show people I can come back and play there. That's why I need some game time at Everton here because they are a good team.
"The manager [Sarri] arrived late and we didn't know what was the plan of the club. At Chelsea there were a lot of defenders. I knew I needed to play regularly so I didn't want to stay on the bench and wait for my chance after two or three months, so that's why I wanted to go.
"I spoke with the manager and he agreed with me. I knew at Chelsea they had five central defenders already. He plays with four at the back, so there are only two who play. I didn't want to wait and he completely agreed."
Zouma joined Chelsea from Saint-Etienne for £12 million in January 2014, and moved to London six months later. He was part of the Blues squad which won the Premier League title in 2014-15 and was beginning to establish himself in the starting XI the following season when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in February 2016.
It was almost a year before Zouma returned to competitive action after the knee injury and he failed to earn the trust of then head coach Antonio Conte, making just 13 first-team appearances across all competitions in the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.
Zouma joined Stoke City on loan the following summer and made 34 Premier League appearances last season, but could not prevent the team from being relegated with the joint-worst defensive record in the top flight.