N’Golo Kante is reportedly growing increasingly concerned that he is unlikely to feature in manager Frank Lampard’s plans, with Chelsea braced to make a renewed effort to land Declan Rice from West Ham in January.
The France international has been a mainstay of the Blues engine room following his move to Stamford Bridge from Leicester City in the summer of 2016 and played a pivotal role under three successive head coaches.
Kante hasn’t been as influential for Frank as he was under the likes of Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, but Kante has started all five games Chelsea have played this term, despite a host of new arrivals.
Kante is said to be well aware of the club’s interest in West Ham’s England international Rice and recognises this could be his last campaign in west London.
According to ESPN, N’Golo’s perception of his waning standing was crystalised by Frank’s refusal to sanction his recent request to attend the wedding of his close friend.
The Blues have denied the exchange took place but N’Golo refused to deny it occurred while on international duty with his country this week.
The 29-year-old star was forced to sit out Les Bleus’ midweek win against Croatia with a reported calf strain but trained with the rest of the club’s first-team squad on Thursday.
Rice, meantime, was the only major transfer target Frank missed out on this summer after West Ham United refused to budge on their £80 million valuation of the ex-Chelsea academy star.
Lampard is said to greatly admire Declan’s versatility and attitude and will look to pounce when the transfer market reopens if the Hammers are in a position whereby they need to sell to raise funds.