​Chelsea are preparing for their pre-season with centre-back Kurt Zouma in their plans, handing both Everton and Arsenal a huge blow in their pursuits of the Frenchman.

Zouma has enjoyed a strong loan spell with the Toffees, who were tipped to make an attempt to sign the player permanently this summer.

Ashley Barnes,Kurt Zouma

However, according to the ​Liverpool Echo, their attempts will be in vain as ​Chelsea are 'expecting' to welcome him back to the first-team fold for pre- at Stamford Bridge.

While a looming transfer ban makes recalling Zouma a shrewd move on paper for the Blues, manager Maurizio Sarri's lack of player rotation has forced fellow centre backs Andreas Christensen and ​Gary Cahill to accept reserve roles at the club, with David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger the preferred duo.

Cahill recently spoke of his ​lack of respect for Sarri over this policy, and it is feared that the same could happen to Zouma, who has never been known for the passing ability which Sarri looks for in defenders.


As a result, the 24-year-old has been tipped to leave Chelsea this summer, with ​Everton and ​Arsenal said to be chasing his signature, but it appears as though the Blues are keen to end this speculation.

Zouma already has 71 appearances for Chelsea to his name, having been a key player for the club between in the 2015/16 season. However, he suffered a serious knee injury in February 2016, which kept him out of action for eight months and saw him lose his place in the team.

Kurt Zouma,Robbie Brady

He spent last season on loan with ​Stoke City in an attempt to prove his fitness, and passed with flying colours, before making the switch to Everton last summer as he continues to prove he has moved on from his injury struggles.