CHELSEA could lose N’Golo Kante for FREE next summer with contract talks having stalled, according to reports.
The midfielder’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the season, with the Blues having been locked in negotiations over an extension.
N’Golo Kante has returned to full trainingGetty
Chelsea are willing to offer the 31-year-old a two-year contract with an option for a third.
But Kante wants a four-year deal like the one handed to Kalidou Koulibaly, also 31, earlier this year.
According to the Mail, Blues chiefs are wary of such a commitment, given Kante’s injury issues in recent seasons.
The Frenchman missed 55 Premier League games through injury during the past three campaigns – and hasn’t played this time around since the 2-2 draw with Tottenham on August 14.
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Should Chelsea fail to agree a new deal by January, Kante would be free to talk to other teams abroad.
Paris Saint-Germain would be at the front of the queue for the 2018 World Cup winner’s signature, having held a long-term interest.
Discussing Kante’s situation yesterday, boss Graham Potter said: “My focus is to help him rehabilitate in a good way so he is available for us.
“When on the pitch, he is a huge asset for us. The other stuff is between the club and him.
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“My focus is to help him get fit and enjoying his football.
“There are not many players in world football like him, so the quicker he is back for us the better. That is where I leave my focus.”
Potter, 47, could select Kante for the first time tonight against AC Milan – with the former Leicester ace back in contention following his recent hamstring issue.
The ex-Brighton manager added: “It’s hard to replace someone like him.
“He is a world-class player and any team that loses him will suffer a little bit. But it’s up to the other players to take the step up and find the solutions.
“If we look at the options we’ve got, even if there isn’t a direct replacement, there are other solutions in there so we have to find the right one.”
PAGraham Potter discussed Kante ahead of tonight’s match[/caption]