France international defender Kurt Zouma joins West Ham United
West Ham United is delighted to announce the signing of France international Kurt Zouma until the summer of 2025.
The 26-year-old central defender joins for an undisclosed fee from Chelsea, where he accumulated two Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions’ League winner's medal and one EFL Cup winner's medal during a seven-year career.
A prodigious talent who boasts great pace, strength, technical proficiency and the experience of 165 Premier League and 27 top-level European appearances, Zouma further strengthens manager David Moyes’ top-of-the-table West Ham team ahead of their first-ever venture into the Europa League group stages.
He currently holds eight full international caps with France, having progressed through all junior levels with the national team since the Under-16 age group, and will this week again join up with Didier Deschamps’s squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia, Ukraine and Finland.
“I’m very happy and very proud,” Zouma said on signing for West Ham.
“My conversation with the manager went very fast. I just felt like he really wanted me to come and join the team, especially a good team that’s started the season very, very well.
“With the great season that West Ham had last year, that gave the team a lot of confidence to improve this year – and I want to help the team do that.”
I am delighted to welcome Kurt to West Ham United. He is a player we have tracked for some time, and we have taken great care and diligence to make the transfer happen
Zouma’s top-class credentials made him a long-term and primary target for Moyes, who said: “I am delighted to welcome Kurt to West Ham United. He is a player we have tracked for some time, and we have taken great care and diligence to make the transfer happen. He was always our first choice and I am very happy that he is now our player.
“Kurt will join a squad full of players who are hungry and ambitious. He will provide competition to our squad. He is a strong, powerful player with great experience in the Premier League while he is also at a good age for a centre-back.
“Kurt has enjoyed great success at Chelsea and I can see that he is determined to continue being successful here at the London Stadium. Myself, the coaching staff and players are all looking forward to working with him and we wish him all the very best in his career with us.”
Born in the French city of Lyon to immigrants from the Central African Republic, Kurt Happy Zouma’s footballing journey began as a nine-year-old at local Fifth Division side FC Valux-en-Velin and continued at Le Pôle Espoirs Football de Dijon, an academy run in conjunction with the French Football Federation.
His prodigious potential was identified by Saint-Étienne, who signed him as a 15-year-old in 2009. It took barely two seasons for his talent to result in a first professional contract at the end of the 2010/11 season.
Initially playing without a name on his shirt to shield him from media attention, Zouma made his professional debut at just 16 on 31 August 2011, playing the full 90 minutes of Saint-Étienne’s 3-1 Couple de la Ligue win over Bordeaux.
The centre-back’s Ligue 1 debut came the following month at Lorient, and the first of 17 professional goals he has since scored throughout his club career arrived in November 2011 in a 2-0 win over Nice.
The highlight of Zouma’s Saint-Étienne career was undoubtedly his first major honour: at just 18-years-old, the centre-back played the full 90 minutes of Les Verts’ 1-0 win over Rennes in the 2012/13 Coupe de la Ligue final.
That same year, alongside fellow new Hammer Alphonse Areola, Zouma was part of the hugely talented France side that won the the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, starting every game from the final group fixture onwards and scoring in the quarter-finals against Uzbekistan.
Zouma made his debut in European competition in a 3-0 win over Moldovan team Milsami on 8 August 2013 and, on transfer deadline day in January 2014, joined Chelsea before immediately returning to France on loan for the remainder of the season.
In September 2014, Zouma made his first competitive appearance for the Blues, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Cup, before making Champions League and Premier League debuts the following month, the latter in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Making 26 appearances in all competitions, Zouma went on to earn his first Premier League winner’s medal with Chelsea in his debut campaign, also demonstrating his versatility in successfully man-marking Christian Eriksen as a defensive midfielder in their 2-0 win over Tottenham in the EFL Cup final.
Called up to the senior France squad for the first time in March 2015, Zouma made his debut at his former club ground – Saint-Étienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – as a substitute against Denmark, but saw his progress halted by an injury which ruled him out of the 2016 UEFA European Championship finals in his home country.
Nevertheless, Zouma returned to earn nine appearances – and another winner's medal – in Chelsea’s successful 2016/17 Premier League campaign.
Two seasons of regular first-team football and 73 appearances on loan at Stoke City and Everton granted Zouma the opportunity to reassert himself in England’s top-flight, leading to his first start for France in June 2019 – an occasion Zouma once again marked with a goal in a 4-0 win over Andorra.
After making 36 appearances in all competitions last season for Chelsea, Zouma will now continue to further his outstanding career in Claret and Blue under the guidance of the Premier League’s most experienced manager in Moyes.
At 26 years-old, Zouma will hope to showcase the same youthful hunger and athleticism which has already taken him so far in the game, so quickly, in a record-breaking West Ham squad that continues to prove its quality, character and ambition.
Everyone at West Ham United would like to welcome Kurt and his family to east London, and wish him every success for his career in Claret and Blue.