Stoke City Mark Hughes has praised his loanee defender Kurt Zouma, claiming that the Chelsea man is worth £40m. The Potters shelled out £7m just to bring the 22-year-old to the club on loan this season, and Hughes has often been vocal in praise for the player he believes the club unfortunately can't afford to sign on a permanent basis.
Speaking ahead of their Saturday afternoon Premier League match against Southampton, via the Mirror, Hughes turned his focus to the French international defender, claiming:
"Kurt Zouma is a £30-40m centre-half. We can’t afford that, but in the loan market we can get him here so that’s a good thing. We have to do that because we’re not going to go into the market for a £60m player.
Considering the possibility of bringing the robust central defender back to the bet365 Stadium on loan again next season, Hughes admitted his eagerness to make the deal happen, but conceded that the Blues may be ready to incorporate the young talent into their own squad:
"We'd be more than happy to pursue it (a loan deal) if the potential to do it was there - we'd certainly ask. He's been that impressive. They sent Andreas Christiansen to Germany and now he's playing in Chelsea's team. I suspect that's what will happen with Kurt."
Zouma was unable to feature against his parent club last weekend due to a common clause in his loan deal preventing it, and had to watch on from the sidelines as the Potters were battered 4-0 by a far superior Chelsea team. The Potters will be looking to bounce back against Southampton this weekend, and Zouma's presence in the defence will be crucial to this aim.