- Kante rejected contract offer in September
- Player free to negotiate other deals from January 1
- Chelsea have reportedly made progress this week
WHAT'S HAPPENING? The Athletic have revealed that positive steps have been made between club and player after original talks proposed verbally back in September were unsuccessful. Kante's current deal with Chelsea expires in the summer, leaving other clubs the chance to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the player from January 1.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Frenchman's current contract situation has sparked interest from France and Spain in particular, with Barcelona the latest club rumoured to be nearing a proposal to sign the 31-year-old on a free in the summer. A hamstring injury - which could keep Kante out until March - offered another stumbling block to negotiations, although there is now thought to be optimism with recent developments.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Issues still remain over the length of contract, though, with Chelsea's two-year proposal, plus the option of a third, rejected by Kante back in September. He is said to favour longer-term security. For their part, the Blues have always wanted the 2018 World Cup winner to stay, viewing him as a legend and an extremely popular figure at the club.
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WHAT NEXT? With talks still in their early stages and contract duration yet to be decided, it remains to be seen whether Chelsea will get a deal over the line before Kante is able to begin negotiations with other clubs from January 1.