Marco Silva has admitted he would like to pursue a permanent deal for Kurt Zouma in the summer.
Zouma joined on a season-long loan from Chelsea on transfer deadline day last August and has gone on to impress in a royal blue shirt.
The 24-year-old has been Everton’s standout centre-back in what has been a difficult season defensively for the club, making 27 appearances in all competitions.
Speaking about the Frenchman’s impact at Goodison Park this season, Silva told the Liverpool Echo.
“I am really pleased, to be really honest with you. Really pleased.
“I took the decision in the last day of the market. I had the name in my mind, always, and was in contact with people who are close to him but I had that solution in mind, even if you know the club doesn’t want to sell him.
“But I had his name in my mind and so took the decision on the last day of the market.
“I am pleased because he is helping our team, he fits well in our squad, he is a little bit different in terms of profile to our other central defenders – he is a little bit faster when we lose the ball – he is different to Jags, Mina and Michael.
“He is helping. But to be honest with you, I see many, many conditions in which he can improve, and he knows because I speak to him everyday what I am demanding of him.
“But I am really happy with him, he is improving, trying, he is a good professional, he is happy in our club, he is a good team-mate and a really important player.”
When asked about a possible permanent move for the defender, Silva added:
“Let’s see what we can do or not in the future.
”But it’s also about his opinion, about his future. But we are really happy with him.”
Everton may well be interested in signing Zouma but that doesn’t mean any deal would be straightforward, with plenty of road blocks ahead.
Firstly, when Silva talks about Zouma’s “opinion” he is probably referring to comments made by the defender earlier this season when he stated his intention to return to Chelsea at the end of his loan, meaning he would need some convincing to change his mind and opt to stay on Merseyside instead.
He also has four-and-a-half years left on the six-year contract he signed at Chelsea just 18 months ago, making any transfer a very costly one indeed.
The one factor that could work in Everton’s factor is the current turbulence at Stamford Bridge, with Maurizio Sarri’s future as head coach under threat.
Everton could try and capitalise on that uncertainty and persuade Zouma to swap west London for Merseyside.
Conversely, if Sarri leaves, the new man may see Zouma as part of his long-term plans and block any attempt by the Toffees to do a deal.
Therefore, despite these comments by Silva, any permanent move for Zouma looks just as far away as it always has.