Chelsea manager Graham Potter has confirmed N’Golo Kante could return to action against Everton on Saturday.
The French midfielder has been sidelined for most of the season with a hamstring injury, making only two appearances in the Premier League.
The 31-year-old’s absence has coincided with the Blues’ decline, with the club tenth in the Premier League table, 11 points off the final Champions League spot.
“Kante has a chance of being in the squad,” Potter told the press (h/t football.london) ahead of the Everton clash. “It’s the first time [since Potter’s appointment] so it’s fantastic.
“Managers before me have spoken very highly of N’Golo because he’s a top, top player. He’s been a huge miss for us.
“Great for us for him to be back. We have to be mindful. We have to take the steps to get him back up to speed.”
The Blues looked weak without Kante during the first half of the season, with Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Denis Zakaria and Conor Gallagher struggling to perform consistently.
However, the midfield has been stabilised in recent weeks, thanks to Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic. They have helped Chelsea reel off three wins in a row.
With the Blues drawn against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals this season, Kante’s return to action is undoubtedly timely.
The French 2018 World Cup winner wreaked havoc on Los Blancos in the 2020/21 campaign en route to the Blues winning the title. He was the man of the match in the final against Manchester City.
Kante’s impact for the remainder of the season could also determine his future, with his contract expiring this summer.
The Blues are happy to continue with their midfield general and have tabled a two-year extension offer with an option for another year.
The injury list at Stamford Bridge has stacked up, with Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva ruled out on Saturday.
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