Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has dropped the biggest hint yet that he won’t follow Jorginho’s footsteps in trying to manufacture a Blues transfer exit this summer.
Kante, 31, has spent six years plying his trade in the blue of Chelsea and winning nearly every trophy available since he completed his switch back in 2016 from Premier League champions at the time Leicester City. During his tenure, especially in the last couple of seasons, different injury concerns and woes have meant that his respective managers – with Thomas Tuchel being the latest – have had to place less reliance on his consistent services as he ages towards the twilight years of his top playing career.
Nonetheless, his importance can never be underestimated as shown with his impressive cameo in the FA Cup final last weekend where he really injected that energy that had faded with Jorginho and an injured Mateo Kovacic. With Jorginho linked with a move to Serie A giants Juventus this summer, any transfer could leave Chelsea in some kind of predicament. We already know the amount of investment needed at the back with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso set for new challenges in La Liga come the summer.
Coupled with this, the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner could leave amid recent links to Bayern Munich meaning more than two departures in the midfield could overload Todd Boehly and his consortium with things he needs to do when his £4.25billion takeover is officially done. One midfielder amid constant Aurelien Tchouameni and Declan Rice links would seem doable with all the other priorities needing ticking off first and coupled with this, Conor Gallagher’s return from his Crystal Palace loan next season will also bolster that department.
Therefore, to hear the 31-year-old Premier League star drop the biggest hint yet that he will be staying for 2022/23 amid having one year left to run on his deal after this season will come as music to the ears of Chelsea manager Tuchel. He told Sky Sports in an interview pre-Leicester: “The only thing is sure that I have one more year and the only thing is to finish this season. I’ll think about it in the right time.”
This statement has validated Tuchel’s worries about losing his reliable players in the summer amid Rudiger’s reported decision to depart for Real Madrid. “Nobody wants that with big players and important players nowadays,” he said in a press conference back in April. “It’s a wish as a coach that we solve this in the summer in any way, that we solve it and it’s clear where the journey is and what the decision is. Yes, this is the wish.
“[If not] we have the same talks that we have had about Toni and Andreas. You just swap the names. We would talk about it through winter and then comes January, and then agents are talking to this club and the brother another. It would be nice if we can avoid it but at the moment it’s difficult [because of the sanctions]. But this should be the target for all of us.” Unfortunately, with no new deal on the table and with Kante currently on his way to becoming a free agent by June 2023, we are sure to hear his agent talk a lot more in the forthcoming months with Paris Saint-Germain a known long-term admirer of the Les Bleus international.
But in the short-term, with this fresh Kante admission regarding his immediate future, it’s a win-win situation it seems for both Tuchel and Boehly who now have one less thing to worry about.