Frank Lampard has made it clear he wants N’Golo Kante to stay at Chelsea and denied the midfielder could be sold this summer.
It had been suggested Chelsea were willing to let Kante leave Stamford Bridge if they needed to raise transfer funds for further signings.
The Blues are ready to press ahead with moves for Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz after spending around £85million on Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Further signings may have to be funded by player sales, but Lampard does not want to lose Kante.
The Chelsea manager said: “I have seen some talks and reports about him and his future at the club. I have said it a lot of times about N’Golo, he is one of the best midfield players in the world and I would have loved to have played with him, the type of player he is, he has everything.
“Coming back to Chelsea and getting the opportunity to manage this club and having N’Golo here is something I want to work with and appreciate. This season, unfortunately because of injuries, it has been tough for him. It is nice to see him fresh.
Chelsea signings set the perfect test for Lampard’s ‘baby Blues’
“One of the silver linings of this has been we have been able to get a few players fitter and fresher. N’Golo is so important to us as a team going forward that we need him regularly, and hopefully we will have that now.”
Kante is fit to start when Chelsea resume the season at Aston Villa on Sunday, despite only returning to full training last week because of his concerns over the coronavirus.
“He has been training with as a group for a while now,” said Lampard. “He is as fit as anyone in the team. He is naturally fit anyway. Was it a difficult situation? Yes, because I was very sympathetic to N’Golo and his feelings. That has been sorted out and he is training and he is happy.”
Meanwhile, Lampard has urged Callum Hudson-Odoi to knuckle down at Chelsea and learn from his lockdown misdemeanour.
Hudson-Odoi brock lockdown rules by arranging for a woman to visit his west London home last month. The 19-year-old was arrested by police but it was confirmed last week that he will not face any further action on an allegation of rape.
Hudson-Odoi has struggled to establish himself in the Chelsea team since signing a new £120,000-a-week contract last year after he had tried to force a move to Bayern Munich and Lampard says the winger needs to work hard to start to realise his huge potential.