Our key player: Thomas Tuchel speaks on Chelsea midfielder amid speculation
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has insisted that midfielder N'Golo Kante is a key player in the first-team squad.
The Frenchman has shown signs of regression this term, and he was far from impressive against Leicester City last night.
Kante won just four of his 10 ground and aerial duels, and was substituted in the 72nd minute of the league encounter.
Speaking after the 1-1 draw, Tuchel emphasised that Kante still remains a key player despite his recent shortcomings.
He said: "I think he is our key, key player but key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games and it’s maybe a miracle we arrive in third place because he is our Mo Salah, Van Dijk or De Bruyne."
Kante's current deal with the Blues expires in June 2023, but the hierarchy are prepared to negotiate a new long-term deal.
Manchester United are apparently interested in signing him, but the Blues seem unlikely to entertain any bids for Kante.