N’Golo Kante is growing increasingly concerned that he is unlikely to feature in Frank Lampard’s plans, with the London giants braced to make a renewed effort to sign Declan Rice from West Ham United in winter.
The 29-year-old midfielder has been a mainstay of the Blues engine room following his move to Chelsea from the Foxes in the summer of 2016 and played a pivotal role under three successive coaches.
N’Golo hasn’t been as influential for Frank as he was under the likes of Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, but he has started all five games Blues have played this campaign, despite a host of new arrivals.
Kante is said to be well aware of the London club’s interest in West Ham United’s Declan Rice and recognises this could be his last campaign in Chelsea. N’Golo’s perception of his waning standing was crystalised by Frank Lampard’s refusal to sanction his recent request to attend the wedding of his best friend.
Blues have denied the exchange took place but Kante refused to deny it occurred while on international duty with France this week. Kante was forced to sit out Les Bleus’ midweek win over Croatia with a reported calf strain but trained with the rest of Blues first-team squad on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s PL game with Southampton.
Rice, meanwhile, was the only major transfer target Frank Lampard missed out on this summer after the Hammers refused to budge on their £80m valuation of the former Blues youngster. Frank Lampard is said to greatly admire Declan’s versatility and attitude and will look to pounce when the transfer window reopens.