Thomas Tuchel says N’Golo Kante’s injury record at Chelsea will go against him in renewal talks

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NGolo Kante Chelsea August 2022 Credit: PA Images
NGolo Kante Chelsea August 2022 Credit: PA Images

Thomas Tuchel has admitted Chelsea will have to consider N’Golo Kante’s wretched injury record when they start negotiations over a potential new contract for the midfielder.

Kante started the first two games of the season but he had to come off in the draw with Spurs. And the 31-year-old has not been seen since after sustaining another hamstring problem.

Tuchel has said it’s been “a bad start” for Kante, who has faced intermittent injury problems at Stamford Bridge in the last few years.

Kante managed just 21 Premier League starts last term, while he managed 24 the previous season.

Such is his importance to the team Tuchel wants the experienced star playing in every game. But that has simply not been possibly and the German says his injury problems will be factored into talk over a new deal.

The World Cup-winning midfielder’s Chelsea contract expires next summer, at the same time as Italy ace Jorginho. It means that two key cogs from the Chelsea engine room could walk away for free simultaneously.

Chelsea’s new owners are determined to stop senior players’ contracts running down in parallel, as with Andreas Christensen and Toni Rudiger last term, who both left on free transfers.

Asked if Kante’s injury record will have a bearing on his contract situation, Tuchel said: “Yes. You have to consider everything that is on the table.

Chelsea will try and find a solution

“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, of course.

“From there you build a whole picture and try to find a solution.”

Tuchel is well aware of the quality that Kante has. His infectious work-rate and destructive ball-winning ability make him hard to replace. And he will be a man in demand if Chelsea decide to walk away from a contract renewal.

Arsenal were linked with a move for the player earlier this summer.

In fact Caughtoffside claimed talks could get underway between the clubs last month.

But Tuchel needs his best players on the pitch and a new offer below the expectations of Kante’s representatives could see him move on next summer.

Asked if title a challenge was possible with such an important player missing, Tuchel replied: “This is a key question and the answer is maybe no, 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.

Kante ‘makes players around him better’

“He makes players simply better around him. He gives something that is 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 the 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, four matches where you need to rediscover 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 a third one still a bit struggling with confidence and rhythm.

“This is basically the story. We have huge hopes we can turn things around, but this was a bad start.”

READ MORE: Anthony Gordon: Daniel Levy readying late swoop to wreck Chelsea plan as Frank Lampard admits transfer ‘red line’

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