Potter to not indulge in contract talks with star Chelsea midfielder

Chelsea manager Graham Potter will not indulge in contract talks with N’Golo Kante

Speaking to the media ahead of the AC Milan game (h/t Evening Standard), Chelsea manager Graham Potter made it clear that he will not indulge in contract talks of midfielder N’Golo Kante but labelled the player as ‘hard to replace’.

Kante has entered the final 12 months of his contract at Stamford Bridge with no sign of an extension being agreed yet. The new regime did make him a verbal offer of a two-year extension with an option for a third, the player rejected that as he demands a longer duration of the contract.

Former Blues manager Thomas Tuchel mentioned that the midfielder needs to compromise if he is to get a new deal at the club. The 31-year-old has been out for more than a month after picking up a hamstring injury playing against Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter will not indulge in contract talks with N'Golo Kante.
N’Golo Kante’s contract at Chelsea expires next summer. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

New boss Potter made it clear that he won’t indulge in contract talks and is focused on making the player fit to play. Here are the quotes (h/t Evening Standard):

“My focus at the moment is to help rehabilitate N’Golo in a good way so he’s available for us because when he’s on the pitch he’s a huge asset for us. The other stuff is between the club and him. But my focus is to help him get fit, get him enjoying his football. Because there are not many players in world football like NG.

“So the quicker he’s back for us the better. So that’s where I’ll leave my focus. It’s hard to replace someone like NG, a world-class player, any team that loses him will suffer a little bit. If I look at the options I’ve got, not got a direct replacement so I’ve got to find the right one.”

While Kante is a key player and Chelsea miss whenever he doesn’t play, he has missed quite a lot of games due to injuries in the last 12-18 months.

The club must be in a dilemma here. Everyone, including Potter as mentioned above, knows how good the Frenchman is. So, will the club take a chance on him and offer him a deal that can be accepted by both parties despite availability issues?

Chelsea manager Graham Potter will not indulge in contract talks with N'Golo Kante.
N’Golo Kante has had his fair share of injury problems at Chelsea in recent seasons. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Although availability is the biggest quality a player can offer, the rule can be tweaked for exceptional players. Maybe, Kante stays and plays only 60% of the games in a season and makes Chelsea unbeatable in those games. Or the club go in a completely different direction and sign a younger replacement for him.

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It will be a risky one because the successor might not be as good as the 31-year-old, and the latter stars in the next club he goes to. Anyway, the owners and the football people at the club are paid highly enough to make tough decisions like these. Whichever way they turn, they’d be well aware of the situation.