Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has revealed his desire for a future at Stamford Bridge but stressed his need to play regularly to preserve his ambitions to play for France at Euro 2020.
Everton are reportedly desperate to sign the Frenchman permanently after impressing on loan at Goodson Park last season.
But Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is equally determined to keep Zouma at Stamford Bridge.
‘I’m happy with what the manager said about me,’ said Zouma.
‘That means he is seeing the work I’m doing and I’m very pleased with that.
‘We had a chat at the beginning of pre-season and he was very good with me. We talk a lot.
‘It is true that I enjoyed my time at Everton but I am a Chelsea player and we’ll see what will happen in the end.
‘I think it will be here at Chelsea but the most important thing is to work and to prepare for the season.
‘I want to do really well in pre-season to get my chance and be here.’
On Everton loan stint. ‘It was a very good season for me. I made some good friends and I enjoyed my time there with the manager as well.
‘It was very good for my development. After my injury I was ready to play week-in, week-out and get used to playing regularly. By going there, that is what I did.
‘I feel I am a better player. Everything has improved in my game – tactically and technically as a defender with my positioning.
‘I still have a lot to learn and to work on but I feel I have done a lot since my injury and I’m very happy with it.’
His progress at Everton was rewarded with an international recall and Zouma’s desire to stay in the France team ahead of Euro 2020 and add to his four caps provides the backdrop to this big decision over his club future.
Under Silva at Goodison he can be confident he will be a first-choice starter.
At Chelsea there is the allure of Champions League football but also fierce competition, especially when Antonio Rudiger, the regular defensive partner for David Luiz last season, returns from a knee injury, report the Daily Mail.
Rudiger will miss the start of the new campaign after surgery but is ahead of schedule with his recovery and is aiming to be back by October.
‘It was one of my targets to get into the France team,’ said Zouma. ‘It is very important to me. I had been there before and wanted to come back. I managed to do that which made me very happy.
‘Now the target is to play at the Euros next year but to be there you have to be playing at your club. That is why I’m working very hard in pre-season. We will see what’s going to happen.
‘There are a lot of players here and a lot of quality at the club but he can only play with two central defenders.
‘The manager has to make the choice but he is lucky because he only has good players. It will be hard for him to make that choice but that is what we’re here for and why we are working hard.’