London (AFP) - Stoke City have secured the signing of Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma on a season-long loan deal, the Premier League club announced on Friday.
The centre-back is believed to have turned down a host of sides from around Europe, and has opted for the Potters after completing a medical at their Clayton Wood training complex.
"Kurt is undoubtedly one of the most talented young defenders in the game, so naturally his arrival will enhance our playing squad for the forthcoming campaign," beamed Stoke manager Mark Hughes.
"He first caught my attention as a 17-year-old during his time at St Etienne, and in fact, I actually tried to sign him at that point in his career, but while that deal never materialised, I am delighted to finally get the opportunity to work with him now.
"On his day, he is one of the most impressive defenders in the league."
Zouma - already a French international - has made 71 appearances for Premier League champions Chelsea and remains part of their long-term plans, but Blues boss Antonio Conte wanted him to get regular game time this campaign after suffering a serious knee injury in February 2016.
That injury - picked up against Manchester United - limited Zouma to just 13 appearances for Chelsea last season.