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Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink says Chelsea should renew the contract of N’Golo Kante and believes the France international will benefit from missing the World Cup due to injury.
Kante has featured just twice for Chelsea this season due to a hamstring injury sustained in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in August. The 31-year-old was close to making a return in October but suffered a setback and it was then decided he should undergo surgery to correct the issue.
The midfielder’s recovery is set to keep him out of action until February, at which point he will have just five months remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge. And while prospective talks to extend the Frenchman’s deal have been held by Chelsea’s new ownership group, no agreement has been reached.
The prospect of Kante leaving Chelsea on a free transfer at the end of this season is a very real possibility – and one few supporters could have envisaged after his magnificent performances during the Blues’ run to the 2021 Champions League under Thomas Tuchel.
Yet despite various concerns over Kante’s fitness, Hasselbaink – who made 177 appearances for the Blues and scored 87 goals – believes Chelsea would be making a mistake in letting the two-time Premier League champions walk away for nothing next summer.
“Kante deserves it [a new contract] and to replace him would take one hell of a signing,” Hasselbaink, speaking on behalf of Grosvenor Casinos, told football.london earlier this month. “I think Kante has been overworked; he played a lot of matches in a really short time. It was going to catch up with him.
“Hopefully not going to the World Cup with France will do him well. That is not what he would want to hear but I think not going will be great for Chelsea because he can get healthy and go again. So I would definitely renew Kante’s contract.”