Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel expresses N’Golo Kante contract hope as injury woes continue

·3-min read
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel expresses N’Golo Kante contract hope as injury woes continue

Thomas Tuchel has hinted that N’Golo Kante’s recent injury record will impact the terms he can expect in his new contract, despite the Frenchman still being one of Chelsea’s star players.

Kante, who will be out for more than a month after his latest setback, has just 10 months left to run on a £290,000-a-week contract at Stamford Bridge.

Having missed more than 30 matches since the current boss arrived in west London through various injuries, Tuchel hopes that Kante will now be open to negotiating more favourable contract terms.

“No, you cannot (disregard Kante’s injury record),” Tuchel told reporters at Cobham on Friday. “You have to consider everything that is on the table, and on the table is his potential, on the table is his influence and his quality.

“But on the table of course is his age, his salary and his injury rate. From there you build a whole picture and try to find a solution.”

N’Golo Kante is facing more than four weeks out with an injury sustained against Tottenham (Getty Images)
N’Golo Kante is facing more than four weeks out with an injury sustained against Tottenham (Getty Images)

With Kante absent again, Tuchel admits that missing his star midfielders so often makes it hard to challenge for the Premier League title: “This is a key question and the answer is maybe no [we can’t]. But we try to.

“It’s much more difficult because you see the impact that he has, you see the impact in the goals that we concede, the amount of goals, the amount of points that we have, the amount of goals that we concede, the amount of goals he makes.

“He makes players simply better around him. He gives something very unique and don’t forget he also installs confidence that you cannot measure. That’s why he is a key player but for the key players, it is super important to be on the pitch and to have an impact.

“By the rhythm that you mentioned, I meant you can count the matches that he is missing but what about the first two, three, or four matches where you need to refind your rhythm? Nobody is counting these matches so maybe in real life it is even more than just the matches he is missing.

“And then he comes back for the first match from the bench and maybe a second from the bench, and then the third one still a bit struggling with confidence and rhythm. This is basically the story and, yeah, we have huge hopes we can turn things around but this was a bad start.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea have not given up on signing Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Everton's Anthony Gordon, having now finally agreed a deal with Leicester for Wesley Fofana.

There are also doubts over the futures of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Trevoh Chalobah.

In a summer where Chelsea could sign £300million worth of players and see up to 10 leave, Tuchel is trying to create a squad in his vision under the Boehly-Clearlake ownership group.

"I think we signed three key players to make us better, add depth, personality and quality," he added. "There are still some ideas which we think could improve the squad and suit us well to help us compete at the highest level – if not, we will push with this group.

"I think the benchmark is the game against Tottenham with the way we played, not only tactically, but from the mindset in terms of aggression and grit as well. This is where we need to push this team."