Tuchel explains why Chelsea is yet to offer its best player a new contract

N’Golo Kante
Photo: Robin Jones/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel has hailed N’Golo Kante as the team’s best player.

The Frenchman has been a massive part of Chelsea’s success under Thomas Tuchel, but has had injury troubles over the past two seasons.

It became worse for Kante last season as he often visited the treatment table.

Thomas Tuchel had hoped Kante would be available for much of this season, but the 31-year-old midfielder is out injured again, and would be out of action for one month.

Kante currently has a year left on his contract with Chelsea, but the club hasn’t yet offered the World Cup winner a new contract.

Tuchel has explained that Kante’s injury problems coupled with his age and high wages, have made the club hold on talks for a new deal.

Kante is in the final year of his contract and may leave as a free agent if a new contract isn’t offered before the end of the season.

Asked if Kante’s injury record will have a bearing on his contract situation, Tuchel replied: “Yes. You have to consider everything that is on the table.

“And on the table is his potential, on the table is his influence, and his quality.

“But on the table of course is his age, his salary and his injury rate, of course.

“From there you build a whole picture and try to find a solution.”

Asked if title challenges are sustainable when such an important player is missing so frequently, Tuchel replied: “This is a key question and the answer is maybe no, but we try to.

“It’s much more difficult because you see the impact that he has, you see the impact in the goals that we concede, the amount of goals, the amount of points that we have, the amount of goals that we concede, the amount of goals he makes.

“He makes players simply better around him. He gives something that is very unique and don’t forget he also installs confidence that you cannot measure.

“That’s why he is a key player, but for the key players it is super important to be on the pitch and to have the impact.

“By the rhythm that you mentioned, I meant you can count the matches that he is missing, but what about the first two, three, four matches where you need to rediscover your rhythm? Nobody is counting these matches, so maybe in real life it is even more than just the matches he is missing.

“And then he comes back for the first match from the bench and maybe a second from the bench, and then a third one still a bit struggling with confidence and rhythm.

“This is basically the story and, yeah, we have huge hopes we can turn things around, but this was a bad start.”