Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma has admitted he is happy with speculation linking him with a summer move to Chelsea.

The 18-year-old impressed in Ligue 1 last season, making 18 appearances and scoring twice. The Frenchman, who was previously linked to Liverpool, has emerged as one of the most sought after young centre-backs in European football.

Zouma is currently part of the France squad competing in the U20 World Cup in Turkey. Blues boss Jose Mourinho is an admirer of the player, with the west London outfit now understood to be weighing up a summer approach, ahead of their rivals.

"If you hear of interest from Chelsea and a great manager such as Jose Mourinho, you take notice. It makes you happy and it means you are on the right way to the top. I am relaxed about all the fuss about me being linked with big clubs, at the moment my focus is on the Under-20 World Cup. We have to try to win that with our generation of good young players," Sky Spots quoted the youngster.

Kurt Zouma

The report claims Chelsea could also face competition from Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Anzhi Makhachkala for the teenage star, rated at around €12m (£10m). Zouma's representatives held talks with QPR last summer but he chose to remain with St Etienne.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid winger Jese Rodriguez has hit out at former manager Mourinho for depriving him of first team opportunities last season. The 20-year-old scored 22 goals for the reserves (Castilla) last campaign but failed to make an appearance for the senior side.

"Maybe last year club thought that they don't need to have more youth players and Mourinho thought he needed to sign players from outside the club. I think maybe I deserved more opportunities. Anyway, this was what Mourinho thought and he isn't here now, so let's what will happen in the future and what the new coach thinks," Rodriguez said.

It will be interesting to see if Mourinho would be able to provide first team opportunities to the likes of Josh McEachran, Nathan Ake and loan-returnees Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne at Chelsea.