Kurt Zouma is expecting to remain at Chelsea after being given assurances over his future, but has not closed the door entirely on a move away from Stamford Bridge.The France international defender spent the 2018-19 campaign away from West London on loan at Everton.He impressed while at Goodison Park, with Toffees boss Marco Silva expressing a desire to take the 24-year-old back to Merseyside. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Zouma has, however, been informed by new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard that there is a role for him with his parent club.The Blues coach has said: “I want him here, simple as that. I want him to be happy. If he competes and plays well this season, he plays.”Zouma has welcomed that show of faith and believes he will be staying put in the current transfer window, but admits he cannot rule anything out.He told reporters: “I’m happy with what the manager said about me. That means he is seeing the work I’m doing and I’m very pleased with that.“We had a chat, and he was very good with me. He is a very good manager.“I enjoyed my time at Everton but I’m a Chelsea player and we’ll see what will happen now in the future. I think it will be here at Chelsea.“This is a chance for me. I went out on loan last season but I’m a Chelsea player and I want to do well to get my chance and be here.”On his spell at Everton, which delivered 36 appearances and two goals, Zouma added: “It was a very good season for me. It was very good for my development. After my injury I was ready to play week-in week-out.“Going there I did that and improved myself technically and tactically in every aspect with the manager there. I am a better player.“Everything has improved in my game. I still have a lot to learn and to work on but I feel I have done a lot.”Zouma is, however, aware that he faces fierce competition for places at Chelsea, with the likes of David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen also hoping to secure centre-half berths.“There is a lot of quality here,” said the Frenchman.“It depends on the manager. He can only play with two centre-backs. He has to make the choice but he is lucky because he has good players. It will be hard for him to make that choice but that is what we’re here for.”Zouma is determined to find regular football due to a desire on his part to add to the collection of five senior caps he has earned for his country.He added: “That is very important for me. It was one of my targets to get into the France team. I had been there before and wanted to come back.“I managed to do that. Now the target is to play at the Euros – but to be there you have to be playing at your club.“So I am working very hard – and let’s see what is going to happen.”
zoom Challenging times have pushed the Ports of Auckland’s full-year net profit to $63.2m compared to $74m last year, down 14.6%.“There is much about our performance of which Aucklanders can be proud. We have made better than expected progress replacing container volumes after Maersk moved a major service away from Auckland early in our financial year. Container volumes finished the year 0.4% up, against expectations that volumes might fall.“Multi-Cargo volumes have held up well, with car volumes increasing 17.4% to a record 243,801 units. Total breakbulk tonnage (including cars) was up 4.4% on the year before,” said Chief Executive Tony Gibson.Namely, container volumes up 0.4% to 972,434 TEU from 968,741 TEU last financial year, with container handling productivity hitting record highs on all measures.Total group revenue was $218.3m, down from $221.2m the year before, reflecting the sale of the company’s subsidiary Connlinx part way through the year.Ports of Auckland has declared a $41.7 million dividend for Auckland in the 2015 financial year.“There were several unusual items this year which reduced our reported profit and dividend compared to last year’s record level. $7.3 million has been put aside to cover costs and provisions for the Bledisloe Wharf extensions following the High Court’s decision to over-turn the consents granted by Auckland Council,” he said.The port operator attributed costs to increases in infrastructure repairs and maintenance, Unitary Plan processes and development of future initiatives.In addition, some $4 million was incurred related to wharf and building demolition and $2.4 million were made in severance payments to workers who left the port after settlement of a collective agreement with the Maritime Union.Speaking of the prospects for the coming year, Gibson said the expectations were subdued due to lower dairy prices and a fall in the New Zealand dollar, resulting in softening in some import trades, slower growth in car volumes and a decline in bulk exports.“Long term growth prospects remain strong, in line with Auckland’s growth,” Gibson said, stressing several strategic investments to ensure this growth.“We are investing in a North Island supply chain network, with new freight hubs in the Manawatu and Bay of Plenty, and an expansion of our existing freight hub in South Auckland.”“To improve productivity and capacity, we are investigating partial automation of our container terminal. We are currently consulting staff and will shortly commission a scoping study. A decision on whether or not to proceed will be made in early 2016.”“In October we will finish a 50m wharf extension at Fergusson Container Terminal and start construction of Fergusson North Wharf. These projects increase our terminal berth space by around 50% and are essential for handling growth in both ship size and trade volumes,” Gibson added.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedThompson leads glittering 200m field in ZurichSeptember 1, 2016In “latest news”Jamaican sprinters brace for life after BoltMay 12, 2017In “latest news”Bolt, Thompson headline Jamaica’s 59-member team to London World ChampsJuly 25, 2017In “latest news” (Jamaica Observer) After a smashing season last year, just the thought of Jamaica’s double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson getting better must be frightening for her rivals, to say the least.Thompson, who swept the 100m and the 200m at the Rio Olympics in 10.71 and 21.78 seconds, respectively, believes she is the one to beat.THOMPSON… I have a slight advantage over others (Photo: Observer file)“As a double Olympic gold medallist, I would say yes (I am the one to beat); I have a slight advantage over others,” said the 24-year-old, after officially being introduced as the new FLOW brand ambassador on Sunday.“But I mean everybody is training, everybody wants to win and I will have to work hard. Not because I am Olympic champion doesn’t mean I am going to have an advantage. So I will just have to maintain my focus and composure and continue to be on top,” she added.Thompson, who was a relatively unknown athlete in 2013, showed remarkably improvement and lowered her 100m personal best from 11.41 to 10.70 seconds in just three years, believes there is more in the tank.“I think I have improved and there is more room for improvement,” said Thompson, who opened her season clocking 7.02 seconds over the 60m outdoor at the Queens/Grace Jackson meet on January 28. Her previous best was 7.04 seconds, a clear sign that she is ahead of where she was last year this time.“I am feeling good and the training is going well so far. My main focus is to put in the training and just go out there and perform as the best I can,” she noted.Last year, Thompson was voted Jamaica’s Sportswoman of the Year for the first time after destroying a quality field to win the 100m at the Rio Olympic by a widening 0.12 margin, clocking a splendid 10.71.She then got sweet revenge in the 200m outlasting her 2015 World Championships conqueror Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, winning in 21.78 seconds and became the first woman to cop the Olympic double in 28 years after American world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.Thompson is expecting to be at her best at the London World Championships in August.“When I go out there to compete, I go to compete, and every year is a learning experience. Beijing was an experience, the Olympics was an experience and coming forward at this year’s World Championships, I wouldn’t say I have more confidence going into the World Championships,” a confident Thompson pointed out.But before the London World Championships, Thompson has her eyes on making her debut at the World Relays in The Bahamas April 22-23.“I am looking forward to the World Relays. I have never been there before and I am looking forward to this year because I know when team Jamaica steps out there, we are going to perform and I am looking forward to be on those relays this year,” said Thompson, with a gleam in her eyes.“The World Relays seem more excited than others and I am looking forward to be in Bahamas,” she added.