Premier League returns: Chelsea's mid-season review
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Chelsea head coach Graham Potter has been urged to prioritise keeping N’Golo Kante at the club over Jorginho ahead of their summer contract expiries. Blues icon Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is desperate for Kante to remain in west London, despite his increasingly frustrating injury woes.
The 31-year-old has made just two appearances this season after undergoing surgery on a hamstring injury in October. And entering the final six months of his Chelsea deal, rumours about his future are swirling, including strong transfer links to Barcelona.
After Potter succeeded Thomas Tuchel earlier in the campaign, he’s approaching the first transfer window of his reign. The former Brighton boss will be keen to start shaping his newly-inherited squad to his vision as early as January. And a midfield refresh could be on the cards, with Jorginho and Kante set to become free agents in July.
However, speaking exclusively to Express Sport, Hasselbaink urged Potter against letting both leave Chelsea and pinpointed the World Cup winner as the midfielder he must prioritise. He said: “Yeah, [Potter is] going to want [to shape his squad to his liking].
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“But I would definitely not let Kante go. I think you can’t let both of them go. I think, yes, they are in their 30s, and yes, you need to re-energise and other players need to come in. But I think you need to keep one of the two and I would keep Kante.”
Frank Leboeuf made over 140 appearances for Chelsea, playing with Hasselbaink in his final season and the Dutchman’s first at Stamford Bridge. And he has effectively disagreed with his former team-mate, suggesting Kante could actually retire if he can’t shake off his injury woes.
“It could be that [Kante’s] nearing the end of [his career],” Leboeuf told Safe Betting Sites. “Because the thing is, we have to understand that we are talking about a human being. Suddenly, your body says, ‘okay, enough, leave me alone’. The end of your career is also a part of your career, and you have to choose the right time to give up.
“Even if you don’t want to, and even if your football is great and you want to carry on. You have to give envy to people and not pity. So you have to make a decision in your own mind. You have to talk to your family and say maybe, ‘okay, it’s over’.”
Kante is expected to return to action before the end of the season, but Potter could address his midfield in his first transfer window at the helm in January. And even if Chelsea seek to extend his stay beyond the summer, he could deem it the right time to pursue a new challenge.
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