Chelsea won’t need to sell Kante, insists Lampard

Chelsea won’t need to sell Kante, insists Lampard
N’Golo Kante trains with Chelsea team-mates ahead of their Premier League match against Aston Villa.
London, Jun 20 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 6/20/2020 10:30:36 AM IST

Frank Lampard has reiterated his desire to keep N’Golo Kante at Chelsea long-term as he admitted that the only reason the midfielder hasn’t played more is due to injury this season.

The 29-year-old is Chelsea’s highest-paid player but has missed 14 games this season due to ankle, hamstring and knee problems.

Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the midfielder in the last few days but Lampard has refuted suggestions that Chelsea will sell their dynamic talent to raise further funds.

This comes following the £47.5 million ($59m) signing of Timo Werner this summer from RB Leipzig in addition to the previously agreed £37m deal ($43m) for Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech.

“In terms of N’Golo, I’ve seen some talk and reports about him and his future at the club. I’ve said it a lot of times about N’Golo - one of the best midfield players in the world. I would have loved to be able to play with him,” Lampard told reporters.

“The type of player he is, he has everything. Coming back to Chelsea and getting the opportunity to manage this club and having N’Golo Kante is something I really want to appreciate and work with. This season, unfortunately, because of injuries, it’s been tough for N’Golo.”

“It’s nice to see him a little bit fresh. One of the silver linings with this is we’ve managed to get a few players fitter and fresher. N’Golo is so important to us as a team going forward. We need him regularly and, hopefully, we will have that now.”

Indeed, Lampard may have feared not having Kante for the remaining fixtures of the season as he sat out group training sessions due to safety concerns relating to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since missing almost two weeks of contact training, Kante returned to take part in contact sessions as well as two friendly matches against Reading and Queen’s Park Rangers.

Chelsea respected Kante’s initial wishes to stay away from the group but he was ultimately convinced to return, and Lampard is ready to utilise him right away.

“He’s fit and he’s been training,” he added. “He trained for a period with the small sessions, socially distanced type training, but he’s been training with us as a group for a while now. He’s fit as anyone else in the team and he’s naturally fit anyway.”

“Was it a difficult situation? Yes, because I was very sympathetic as I think the reaction was everywhere. But I have to deal with it at close quarters, with N’Golo and his feelings. It was very genuine. He wanted to be clear with how it was going to work around the training ground. As I say, that’s been sorted out in the short term. He’s training and he’s happy.”

The Blues face Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday in their first game in 105 days following the stoppage due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the United Kingdom.



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