Graham Potter’s first weeks in charge of Chelsea have been eventful and his handling of key players in upcoming matches will be an early test of his man-management skills.
The former Brighton boss was without both N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy for Chelsea’s match against RB Salzburg – Potter’s first and so far only game in charge – whilst the pair nursed knocks that were picked up under Thomas Tuchel.
Kante has only played two matches this season after injuring his hamstring in the second half against Tottenham and Mendy missed the first Champions League group stage game with a knee injury which subsequently ruled him out of the next game too after the scheduled game against Fulham was cancelled.
Potter is yet to see Kante play despite the Frenchman’s importance to Chelsea and his absence could also prove to be decisive and a hindrance in contract negotiations with the club. Kante is out of contract at the end of the season and will be able to negotiate a free transfer in January.
Here’s the latest on the pair:
Having gone on international duty with Senegal despite knowing of his knock, Mendy has subsequently come back to Cobham after deciding he would be unable to partake in his country’s matches.
Chelsea’s world-class midfield operator is still recovering from his injury suffered earlier this season but has returned to the pitch in training, at least.
He was not picked as part of Didier Deschamps’ France squad that is already struck with a string of injuries and will have time to work on getting fit for a period of nine matches in October which could define Chelsea’s season.
Suitors aware that Graham Potter's arrival may change the Kante situation, although currently no contract extension is close. Potter has always been a big fan of Kante from afar and now keen to assess his form and role when fit.
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) September 22, 2022
has reported that despite Kante’s injury issues he does have a long list of suitors, but Potter is still keen to work with the 31-year-old but will assess him when he’s fit again.