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St Etienne slap £18m price tag on Chelsea target Kurt Zouma

PROMISING: Zouma in action for St Etienne (PA)

CHELSEA WILL have to fork out at least £18m if they want to sign highly-rated centre-back Kurt Zouma from French side St Etienne.

The Ligue 1 club is demanding a big fee for the promising 19-year-old who is expected to become a leading defender in the world game.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is known to want to strengthen his aging backline, with the likes of captain John Terry nearing the end of his career.

It is understood the Blues want to conclude the deal before the window shuts, because there could be a bidding war over Zouma in the summer.

Roland Romeyer, St Etienne’s co-president, said: “Some clubs have launched a bid for the player, but we will not change our strategy.

“There have been discussions for Zouma with English, Italian and French clubs, but he will not be leaving this month unless we find an agreement with some of the potential buyers.

“If not, he will have to wait until the summer. We are under no obligation to sell.”

Despite big predictions being made about the Frenchman’s future in the sport, his price for an unproven teenager may put off Chelsea and other top clubs which may deem the investment too risky.

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