Chelsea will not be able to register new players until the summer of 2020 after FIFA slapped them with a transfer ban after alleged breaches of regulations on signing international minors.
With an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) submitted but not likely to be successful given Barcelona and Atletico Madrid's failure to get similar bans overturned in the past, it means Chelsea will have to rely on players they have already have to get by.
As such, regular loanees like Zouma, who was also at Stoke for a year before a temporary switch to Everton last summer, are expected to be brought back into the fold at Stamford Bridge.
The Sun notes that Everton will face the 'potential disappointment' of not being able to make their loan deal permanent, while the Daily Telegraph names Zouma among five Chelsea players who were on loan at other clubs in 2018/19 that could now be 'considered' for a first team role.
Also on that list is Michy Batshuayi, who scored five times in 11 Premier League appearances for Crystal Palace in the second half of the season, Tammy Abraham, whose 25 goals helped Aston Villa secure promotion from the Championship, Mason Mount and Reece James.
Zouma in particular could be of extra importance to strengthen the centre of defence in difficult times given that Gary Cahill is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the month and Antonio Rudiger will spend the summer recovering from knee surgery.
Chelsea's only other recognised senior central defenders at this moment in time are David Luiz and Andreas Christensen, while right-back Cesar Azpilicueta can also fill in.