Chelsea fear they could be without N’Golo Kante for the Europa League final against Arsenal after he suffered a fresh injury in training on Saturday, according to reports.
The French World Cup winner missed the side’s final Premier League match of the season against Watford with a hamstring injury though the west Londoners had been hopeful of getting him back to fitness in time for the trip to Baku.
He returned to training this week and appeared to be over his hamstring issues, but now Goal.com report that his involvement in yesterday’s session was prematurely cut short.
Kante suffered a knock to his knee and the severity of the injury is not yet known, with further tests required, though early signs indicate he may be unable to play against Arsenal.
The news would be a major blow for Maurizio Sarri, who is already without Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger.
Speaking before Kante’s setback, the Italian had been counting on using the Frenchman in Baku, saying: ‘Of course we are trying to recover Kante. He had a part of the training yesterday with the group, so we are optimistic. ‘I think he will be able to play the final. Rudiger no chance. No, Rudiger and Loftus-Cheek and Callum are all out. The only one we can recover is Kante.’
Kante’s injury is likely to see Ross Barkley come into the starting XI alongside Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic. Both teams will be missing key players in Azerbaijan, with Aaron Ramsey missing for Arsenal – though he will travel with the rest of the squad for the final – though Danny Welbeck could make a surprise return.