N'Golo Kante close to signing new Chelsea contract as he nears first-team return
- Kante out of contract in June
- Chelsea confident of reaching agreement
- Player also nearing return to full training
WHAT HAPPENED? The Frenchman's current deal expires in June meaning he would be eligible to leave on a free transfer at the end of the 2022-23 campaign. Negotiations have been ongoing between both parties and progress had been considered positive at the close of last year. It now appears that Kante looks set to stay in west London, as The Telegraph report that Chelsea are confident an agreement will be reached soon.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The midfielder's contract situation had alerted the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona over a potential summer move. However, it is thought that Kante feels settled in London and would be willing to stay at a club where he has won every trophy available, apart from the Carabao Cup. Any potential agreement would be the second piece of contract good news after defensive stalwart Thiago Silva also signed a new deal earlier this month.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Beyond progress on his new contract, Blues boss Graham Potter has been boosted by the imminent return to witness of the France World Cup winner. Kante has been sidelined since August following a hamstring injury sustained against Tottenham, but initially took part in preparations for the return fixture against Spurs earlier this week. While the midfielder did not complete the full session, it is expected that this date is not too far away, with a return to action set for some time in March.
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WHAT NEXT FOR CHELSEA? Despite being handed a boost in the player's contract and fitness updates, the Blues will be without Kante when they take on Tottenham on Sunday, where they will look to bounce back from a dismal defeat to Southampton last weekend.