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United rejected by Chelsea's Zouma

ESPN staff
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Kurt Zouma (in green) was loaned back to Saint-Etienne last season © AP
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Kurt Zouma has revealed he rejected an offer from Manchester United to join Chelsea.

The defender sealed a £12 million move to Stamford Bridge in January, although he was loaned back to his previous club, Saint-Etienne, for the remainder of the season.

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Barcelona are said to have made Cesc Fabregas available © AP
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But he claimed he turned down down a string of other clubs, including Monaco and Inter Milan to sign up for the chance to play for manager Jose Mourinho.

Zouma, 19, told France Football: "I really wanted to go to Chelsea. Did I have other offers? Yes, there were Inter, Monaco and Manchester United. All those clubs called.

"Monaco was the first to call, with the sport director. I thought about it, but with Mourinho, that is a strong signal. I know it is a risky choice, but I wanted to catch that train. I didn't know if I would get that opportunity again. By signing at Chelsea I am keen to reach a new level."

United are likely to look for a new central defender this summer, with both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic leaving Old Trafford, and Zouma suggested he was in line to help fill the gaps they have left.

Instead, next season Zouma will link up with Chelsea, who have sold centre-back David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain, and is keen to emulate another young French defender who Mourinho has coached.

"When I had a phone call from Mourinho, I thought someone was imitating him," he added. "First, I could hardly talk. It is very flattering to have a call from one of the best coaches in the world.

"He told me I have an interesting profile and he wanted to do with me what he did with Raphael Varane at Real Madrid. Thanks to him he became one of the best French defenders.

"When you hear that, you reply yes immediately. Being one of the best French defenders is an objective for me."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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