Chelsea have received a knock-back in negotiations over a new contract with France international, N’Golo Kante.
What’s the word?
That is according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, who has stated that the 31-year-old is “unwilling to accept” Chelsea’s current contract extension offer as he wants assurances of a longer deal, as promised under the old Chelsea regime.
The new offer was made verbally last month and was presented as a “2+1y” contract, so essentially two years with the prospect of an additional year.
But Ornstein states that Kante “wants longer” at the club and will be a free agent in 2023 if the deal cannot be sorted.
The Athletic super-journalist also expressed that two Premier League teams are interested, with others in Europe keen.
“Chelsea made N’Golo Kante verbal offer last month of new 2+1y contract. 31yo unwilling to accept, wants longer (old regime discussed 3+1). #CFC factoring injuries. If not sorted, free agent 2023. 2 PL clubs & others in Europe keen”
Potter surely scared
New boss Graham Potter will surely be hoping that the club can keep hold of their prize midfield asset.
The 31-year-old’s absence this season has been majorly felt at both ends of the pitch, having played just two games of the first six after suffering injury against Tottenham Hotspur.
Kante offers balance in the engine room and was an integral piece in former boss Thomas Tuchel’s central midfield pairing in the notorious 3-4-2-1 system that served them so well.
Without a well-rounded, defensive-minded and selfless player like Kante, the balance in midfield dissipates, with the France international a key part of denying central space for the opposition and enabling sustained attacking transitions.
In this role for Chelsea, Kante has become a box-to-box player and serves a purpose at both ends of the pitch, as evidenced by his average of 3.12 shot-creating actions and 4.84 tackles + interceptions per 90.
Potter thrives with a well-rounded asset in midfield and will no doubt want Kante to stay for years to come.