N’Golo Kante is set to miss the next three months of football with a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the World Cup.
The Chelsea midfielder picked up his latest injury in training this week, having only just returned to fitness from an injury sustained in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham back in August.
Blues boss Graham Potter described Kante’s injury as: ‘Not good news’, in his pre-match press conference on Friday, and according to The Athletic the 31-year-old is not likely to be back on the pitch until next year.
‘He’s due to see a consultant at the weekend. It’s a setback, but I can’t give you anything more at this stage,’ Potter added.
‘Historically there are things which have happened which is a concern, so we need to get to the bottom of that.
‘It’s a setback at this stage of this rehab which is worrying, but all we can do is get the right diagnosis, get the right consultation, and try and help him get back to full fitness and enjoying his football.’
The injury will also make contract negotiations between player and club even more difficult, with Kante and Chelsea unable to agree new terms with his current deal up at the end of the season.
While unquestionably a huge loss for the club, it is perhaps an even bigger one for France, given how integral Kante has been for Didier Deschamps’ side since he made his debut for them in 2016.
To date, he has made 53 caps for his country and would most likely have started for France at the World Cup in Qatar which kicks-off in just over a month’s time.
Kante was an ever-present during their victorious World Cup campaign in 2018, as well as their run to the final of Euro 2016, and France are regarded as one of the favourites for the 2022 crown.
If he is indeed out for the rest of the year, he will miss several key Chelsea games including Premier League clashes against Manchester United and Arsenal, as well as a Carabao Cup trip to Manchester City.
It is the second huge injury blow for Chelsea in one day, after it was reported that Reece James’ knee injury is worse than first feared with the England defender now also a doubt for the World Cup.