3 reasons why Chelsea should extend N’Golo Kante’s contract (& 2 reasons why they should not)
The Frenchman’s dynamism, coupled with a tireless work rate, has helped the club win six trophies in the last half a decade. But his contract will be up in 2023 and the Blues are yet to hand him an extension.
Kante, for all his contributions over the past six years, has far from stepped up for the West London club this season. Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho have been the more reliant players for the club this season, with Kante coming in and out of the team on occasions.
Regardless, even if the Blues want to get the Frenchman to sign a new contract, they shall have to wait until their ownership issue is sorted out.
Let’s first take a look at the case for not extending Kante’s contract. Here are three reasons why Chelsea should opt against offering the midfielder a new contract.
#1 Consistent injuries
N’Golo Kante is very injury-prone
It is no secret that N’Golo Kante is one of the hardest working players on the pitch when he starts for the Stamford Bridge outfit. However, it has been really hard for him to stay fit this season, as was the case in the first half of last season.
While he has made 39 appearances across all competitions this season, he has only started 29 of them, including just 19 Premier League starts. A lot of this is down to multiple recurring injuries, something he has suffered a lot of over the last couple of years.
With Kante turning 31 last month, it remains to be seen whether he can maintain his high intensity performances without suffering injuries in the coming years. Hence, depending on his fitness level, Chelsea should think twice about offering him a new deal.
#2 Not a difference-maker anymore
N’Golo Kante has lost some of his impact
On his day, N’Golo Kante is one of the best players on the planet and few outclass him in the center of the pitch. But those days are getting lesser and lesser after each season.
The French star was the driving reason behind Chelsea’s Champions League triumph last season, winning the Man of the Match award in the semi-finals and the final. However, he has not managed to pull off similar performances on the big stage this term, and has been a weakness for the team on occasion.
His lackluster display in the 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid in the 1st leg of the UCL quarter-finals this season was evidence of the same. While Kante can turn a corner, it is hard to imagine that he will have the legs to produce Man of the Match performances on a consistent basis.
Hence, Chelsea must certainly ponder over the Frenchman’s importance to the team on a long-term basis before offering him a contract extension.
#3 Letting N’Golo Kante leave will allow Chelsea to focus on the youth
N’Golo Kante’s departure can open doors for youngsters
When N’Golo Kante first arrived at the club in 2016, he was a player who was at the peak of his powers and could do the job of two midfielders at a time. However, that is not the case anymore due to his aging body.
The problem is only going to get bigger season after season, courtesy of which, handing him a new deal makes little sense. Instead, the Blues can promote the youth of the club while also signing younger players.
Conor Gallagher will be returning to the first-team squad next season and is likely to form part of the midfield. At the same time, Chelsea have also been linked with moves for Aurelien Tchouameni and Declan Rice. Ruben Loftus Cheek is also being molded into a fine midfield option for the club.
Hence, rather than giving Kante a new contract, Chelsea can use that money to keep their young stars at the club while also signing some exciting midfield talent.
Now that a case has been made for not offering a new deal for the Frenchman, let us look at the pros for the same. So here are two reasons why Chelsea could consider handing Kante a new contract.
1) Cannot afford to lose too many experienced players
N’Golo Kante has a lot of experience
The former Leicester City star may be getting injured a lot but still possesses more experience than most members in the Chelsea squad.
Alongside him, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Jorginho, and Cesar Azpilicueta have acted as leaders for this relatively young side. However, Rudiger has announced his decision to leave in the summer while Azpilicueta and Silva have less than 18 months left on their current deal.
Jorginho’s contract shall also run out next summer, thereby leaving a massive gap in the leadership role at the club.
Hence, retaining N’Golo Kante might be a good decision as he can guide the young stars of the club and help in their development. There are a few better role models to learn from than the Chelsea midfielder, courtesy of which it might be in the club’s best interests to hand him a new contract.
#2 Can provide depth in the midfield in the coming years
N’Golo Kante in action against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup Third Round
N’Golo Kante has the experience to mold the talent of tomorrow but also has the necessary energy to provide depth in the midfield line. The Frenchman is far from being an impact substitute but has the quality to change the game off the bench.
It would be ridiculous to ask the Chelsea midfielder to play game-after-game in a couple of years, but he would be a great option to call from the dugout.
Moreover, with the Blues often competing in all competitions season after season, there are enough games for everybody. One of the key reasons behind the club’s ability to sustain a title challenge has been the lack of able deputies.
Kante can be a fantastic option if a starter gets injured or suffers a knock. The French star has the guile and enthusiasm, not to mention an astute understanding of the game to deputize in the midfield line.
Hence, with an eye on having some midfield depth in the coming years, it could be handy to offer the 2018 World Cup winner a new deal.