THOMAS TUCHEL has told Chelsea to avoid contract uncertainty next season with key midfielders N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.
The Blues boss has regularly been grilled this campaign about the futures of defenders Andreas Christensen and Toni Rudiger, whose deals expire this summer and are both being targeted by Barcelona.
Kante, 31, and Jorginho, 30, are out of contract in 15 months’ time and Tuchel wants their situations sorted one way or the other before next season.
Asked how important it was to avoid going through the same thing with the midfield pair as he has with Christensen and Rudiger this term, the German replied: “Nobody wants that, absolutely. With important players, it’s a wish as a coach that we solve this in the summer any way.
“That it’s clear where the journey is, what the decision is. Otherwise we have the same talks about Toni and Andreas, we just swap the names, we talk about it through winter.
“Then comes January, the agents talk with clubs and the brother to the other — it would be nice if we can avoid it. But at the moment, it’s a bit difficult. Yes, this should be the target for all of us.”
Kante, a 2016 £29million recruit from Leicester, has been one of Chelsea’s best signings in recent years but has been going through a slump of late.
The France World Cup winner was hauled off at half-time during Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge and some have suggested he is on the decline.
When quizzed on why Kante has not been firing, Tuchel said: “I can honestly not answer the question. One thing is very clear, N’Golo is a key player with outstanding qualities.
“For other teams, maybe it is some strikers or central defenders. For us it is N’Golo, a unique player who can give something to the team that nobody else can.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
“He struggles this season with consistency due to injuries, due to illness. This is also a reason for our bit of inconsistency.
“At the moment he is fasting due to his religion. He is not doing it for the first time but if you don’t eat during the day for many days, it can have an effect.”
Chelsea’s potential buyers have been given three extra days to submit final offers.
Four bidders remain — the Ricketts family and consortiums involving Sir Martin Broughton, Todd Boehly and Stephen Pagliuca. They now have until Thursday after Raine Group, the bank overseeing the sale, moved the deadline from Monday.