Mark Hughes believes he has struck gold with Kurt Zouma – after insisting he is worth £40million.

Zouma, 22, cost Stoke a £7million loan fee when he joined from Chelsea for the season, but his impact has been so huge that Potters boss Hughes wants the the France defender back next term.

The former St Etienne youngster returns for Stoke for Saturday's visit of Southampton after being ineligible for last week's 4-0 defeat.

Hughes, 53, reckons £7million 'rent' is a snip as Zouma's cost in the open market would be beyond Stoke.

“Kurt Zouma is a £30-40m centre-half. We can’t afford that, but in the loan market we can get him here so that’s a good thing,” said the Welshman.