Arsenal legend Ian Wright has advised Chelsea to begin looking for a replacement for N’Golo Kante due to injury concerns over the French midfielder
Ian Wright has told Chelsea to begin searching for a replacement for N’Golo Kante because of fitness concerns over the French midfielder. The 31-year-old suffered three separate injuries during the 2021/22 season – keeping him out of action for 12 matches in all competitions.
Kante, who has just over 12 months remaining on his contract at Chelsea, has been linked with an exit this summer. The Blues risk losing the two-time Premier League champion on a free transfer at the end of next season should he not renew his terms with the club.
Now at the age of 31, Kante’s fitness may be beginning to be tested a bit more. That’s what Wright hinted at, anyway, suggesting that Chelsea should be on the lookout for a replacement for the former Leicester City star when talking about Todd Boehly edging closer to being confirmed as the club’s new owner.
“What’s going to happen with Chelsea next summer season? Without an owner who used to just write off £100million every year,” Wright said to Premier League Productions via the Express.
“Is the new owner going to be able to do that? Because that’s how they’ve been able to do what they have been doing.
“How’s that going to happen now? They need defenders. They’re going to need defenders.
“Kante’s starting to get a little bit of injuries, so they’re going to need to replace him. What’s happening with [Romelu] Lukaku?
“It’s just crazy what’s happening at Chelsea. I can’t really put my finger on it deep down. But form’s gone, you see some of the games they’ve been so poor in the games.”
A long-term replacement for Kante could have been Aurelien Tchouameni. football.london understands that the AS Monaco midfielder has been on the Blues’ radar for some time now, but a move to Real Madrid looks likely this summer.
Kante himself admitted he did not know about his long-term Chelsea future in an interview with Sky Sports earlier in the month. “The only thing is sure that I have one year and the only thing to finish this season. I’ll think about it in the right time,” he said.
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel recently spoke about Kante in what felt like a message to the club’s board to try and get his contract situation sorted. The Blues boss said: “I think he [Kante] is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch.
“He plays only 40 per cent of the games, then it maybe is a miracle that we arrive in third-place. He is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] Van Dijk, he is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“He is that guy who makes the difference, and if you only have him for 40%, then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results.
“It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season, and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player, and we need him on the pitch.”