Chelsea have made strong progress in talks with French midfielder N’Golo Kante over a new contract.
The 31-year-old now has just over six months left to run on his current deal and will be able to enter discussions with foreign clubs over a pre-contract agreement in January.
Kante’s consistent struggles for fitness over the past couple of years have plunged his future into uncertainty, and Barcelona are believed to be mounting a charge to sign him next year.
A recent report claimed that the France international was pushing for the Blaugrana to offer him a contract, while Saudi Arabian giants Al-Nassr are also said to be interested in a move.
However, The Athletic claims that progress has been made in talks with Chelsea over fresh terms, and the Blues are now increasingly optimistic that he will put pen to paper soon.
Kante was initially said to have been left unhappy with the length of a previous proposal that Chelsea were offering, as a two-year extension with the option of another 12 months was put on the table.
The former Leicester City man was instead after a fixed three-year deal and rejected that offer as a result, and the report adds that the length of Kante’s new contract is still a roadblock.
However, there is said to have been positive dialogue between player and club, and Chelsea have never wanted Kante – seen as an “extremely popular” member of the squad – to leave.
As well as Barcelona and Al-Nassr, clubs in both France and the Premier League are said to be keeping a close eye on developments, in spite of Kante’s long-lasting struggles to avoid injury.
The Premier League and World Cup winner has only made two appearances in the 2022-23 season due to a hamstring injury, and he is expected to remain out until February after undergoing surgery two months ago.