20 clubs chase Zouma, as the defender becomes Chelsea’s latest victim

Chelsea have earned themselves a reputation as a graveyard for young talent and it seems that things won’t be changing under Antonio Conte.

Positive steps seemed to be being made in January when Conte cut-short Nathan Ake’s loan spell on Bournemouth, keen for the youngster to continue his positive performances for the West London side, but he was sold permanently this summer.

Ake, like many others, struggled to get his chance in Chelsea’s first-team but the issue of young players is far more severe, as even those that do get opportunities often fail to build on them – as is being shown currently with Kurt Zouma.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has made 47 Premier League appearances since making his debut three years ago and it seemed likely that he’d get the chance to become a first-team regular, especially with John Terry on the way out, but even a three-man defence didn’t give him an opening.

Chelsea elected to play Cesar Azpilicueta centrally and the signing of Antonio Rudiger this summer is further indication that the Blues don’t care on utilising their youth ranks, with Zouma now set for a spell out on loan which, eventually, is likely to lead to a permanent exit.

Fortunately for Zouma, his impressions have made an impact as The Daily Mirror state 20 clubs are chasing his signature, including Stoke City and West Brom, meaning that the French defender won’t have the same issues as others, where many will feel they’ve wasted crucial years of their career.

Remarkably, it means that John Terry still stands as the last academy graduate to become a regular in Chelsea’s team and it doesn’t look like the Blues will change their approach on youngsters anytime soon, with even expensive recruit Michy Batshuayi struggling to find the opportunities he craves.

An exit for Zouma does mean Andreas Christensen may get a look-in after spending two successful years on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach but the smart money is on Chelsea ignoring the Danish ace.