Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has reportedly turned a corner regarding his future at Stamford Bridge and is open to extending his contract at the club.
The French midfielder is in the final year of his contract and could leave as a free agent at the end of the season. However, the former Leicester City midfielder is open to penning fresh terms with the Blues.
This is according to journalist Fabrizio Romano, who wrote on CaughtOffside:
"Chelsea are now discussing internally about N’Golo Kante. The player really wants to stay at Chelsea – he loves the club and the city."
"A few weeks ago, negotiations were really difficult, but now Kante seems open to discuss different terms. Chelsea are in talks with his representatives, but nothing is decided yet – we will see soon.”
This comes as a fresh boost for the club after it was claimed in September that the player turned down a verbal offer from the club. The proposed deal would have seen Kante extend his stay in west London by a further two years with an option to extend it by another year.
It remains to be seen how long the Blues will want to keep Kante on their books given his age and injury issues. The 31-year-old has become susceptible to injury recently and, as a result, has played just 175 minutes of football this campaign.
When fit, Kante's engine and defensive acumen make him one of Europe's top midfielders. However, it would be wise for Chelsea to start planning for life without him if he does not agree to a new contract.
They seem to have laid the foundations by reaching an agreement to sign Andrey Santos from Vasco da Gama. They have also registered their interest in Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi.
Chelsea boss confirms lengthy N'Golo Kante layoff
Kante will not have the chance to play for a new contract with the Blues anytime soon.
Manager Graham Potter has confirmed that the Frenchman is set to be out until late February or early March. Speaking ahead of the Blues' 2-0 league win over AFC Bournemouth on 27 December, he said (h/t IndiaToday):
"It will be a while, end of Feb, start of March. It was a surgery, so it is a minimum period of four months pretty much. I think my focus is to help him get back fit as soon as possible, everyone knows the quality he has.”
Kante underwent surgery for a hamstring issue that has kept him out for nearly the entirety of the season so far. Regarding the midfielder's contract situation, Potter's answer was succinct. He continued:
"In terms of his contract, it's not for me to comment."
Chelsea will next face Nottingham Forest away in the Premier League on January 1.