Premier League • England

Graham Potter faces winter conundrum as reasons emerge for Chelsea star’s stalled contract talks

Marcos Alonso alongside Chelsea stars Mason Mount, N'Golo Kante, Kai Havertz, Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling

A report claims Chelsea are refusing to hold talks with N’Golo Kante over a new contract amid concerns about his long-term fitness.  

The 31-year-old is currently in his seventh season for the Blues after joining from Leicester City in the summer of 2016. The France international was part of the Foxes side that claimed an incredible Premier League title in 2015-2016. His displays in the centre of the park at King Power Stadium alerted many big clubs.

But it was the Stamford Bridge outfit that got their man. And it has certainly been a move that paid off for both club and player.

Kante won the Premier League in his first season at Chelsea while he also has an FA Cup winner’s medal.

The former Caen star has won both the Champions League and Europa League during his stint in west London.

His dynamic all-action style of play in the centre of the park provides the spark for many of the Blues attacks. However, Kante’s game time has diminished in recent seasons due to a series of niggling injuries.

He made only 20 top-flight starts in 2019-2020 while he was given the nod on 24 occasions the following season.

Multiple problems during 2021-2022 meant fans saw him start only 21 league games. And he has been seen just twice this term due to a hamstring injury suffered in August.

Kante is in the final year of his contract and will be free to negotiate with foreign clubs in January.

Chelsea want to keep him but talks have stalled.

Kante demands too much of a risk for Chelsea

There is no questioning how important Kante is to the Chelsea cause. And there will be no shortage of suitors should he opt to leave the club for nothing next summer.

Italian giants Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan have all been linked. But other clubs will enter the picture if he does not ink new terms at the Bridge.

It has recently been claimed that the Frenchman wants a new three-year deal with an option for a fourth year.

And journalist Simon Phillips feels that they are not prepared to play ball on that length of contract due to his fitness issues.

“They don’t want to take risks, and they want to manage his condition,” he told GiveMeSport. “But the injury concerns are mainly why contract talks have stalled for now.”

What have Chelsea offered Kante?

The diminutive schemer is looking for stability as he enters the twilight years of his career. However, Chelsea are only prepared to offer him two years with the option of a third.

There is clearly concern over how many games he has missed and the impact he would have over the course of any new deal.

In addition to the Serie A trio, French giants Paris Saint-Germain are thought to hold an interest.

The Daily Mail claim they may well make a move in the January transfer window, stealing a march on their European rivals.

But the ball is still in Chelsea’s court and they could prevent any rivals landing the Parisian with a deal to suit all parties.

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