FRANK Lampard will hold more talks with N’Golo Kante after Premier League clubs voted to move to phase two of restricted contact training.
Chelsea last week granted Kante compassionate leave to miss phase one of non-contact training over concerns the midfielder holds regarding the safety of a return to playing during the coronavirus crisis.
Kante returned for the first day of phase one training, but has since been keeping fit at home with the full blessing of head coach Lampard and the club.
No date has been put on his return and Chelsea will not apply any pressure for him to train again, even if it means he has to miss the rest of the season.
But Lampard is keeping in constant touch with Kante and will now feedback exactly what the move to restricted contact training means and the protocols around it, so the World Cup winner can decide for himself whether or not to make a return.
Chelsea and other Premier League clubs can now move to contact training after yesterday’s vote Lampard was part of Tuesday’s managers’ meeting with the Premier League over the phase two protocols and captain Cesar Azpilicueta took part in the players’ call.
Kante is believed to want greater medical assurances over his safety before he returns and the increased science behind the move to phase two may provide him with some encouragement.
Despite not training at the club, Kante has been reporting for his oronavirus testing, which means he would be able to return to contact sessions at any point he may decide.
The situation is viewed as particularly sensitive, as Kante’s brother Niama died from a heart attack before the 2018 World Cup and he lost his father when he was aged just 11.
Kante himself has previously suffered a health scare, collapsing in front of shocked team-mates two years ago, and team-mate Willy Caballero revealed the 29-year-old had been worried about his health during lockdown.
“He tested negative for Covid-19 but he had a bad time of it during quarantine with symptoms of the virus that gave him that fear,” said Caballero.
“We respect him and we’ll wait until he feels comfortable because the truth is that to do what we’re doing you have to feel okay and feel confidence and after we start again, we have to all go forward together.
“N’Golo is a very humble and hard-working person who is always smiling and he must have his reasons to lift up his hand and say what he’s said.”
Kante has also received the backing of his France national team manager Didier Deschamps, who said: “Not only do I understand it, but I find the case of [N’Golo Kante] exemplary. N’Golo is whole, natural. He always has a smile.
Chelsea have been told they could sign left-back Nicolas Tagliafico for just £22.4million in the next transfer window. Blues head coach Frank Lampard wants to add a new left-back to his squad and has eyed a ove for Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell.
But England international Chilwell is rated at more than £40m by eicester, which would make 27-year-old Tagliafico a much cheaper alternative.
It remains to be seen whether or not Lampard wants to make a move for Tagliafico. But Chelsea have been made aware of his relatively low fee, the fact the player wants to move to England and made checks on him before the suspension of football.
Chelsea have developed a strong relationship with Ajax and have already agreed to pay up to £37m to sign Hakim Ziyech from the Dutch club.
Lampard was first alerted to Ziyech when he watched him in the Champions League against Tottenham last season and Tagliafico must now hope he too left a lasting impression.
“He has expressed his feelings. I told him, ‘Respect’. It is good that his club heard him and granted him his wish. You have to take into account the feelings of the players.
“Football is their job and their passion, but they cannot live the current situation in a carefree manner, without being worried. If the club, which is the employer, demands that they come to train, it is complicated for them not to perform.”
Tagliafico has admitted recently that he would favour a move to the Premier League above either Spain or Italy.
Speaking earlier this month to Argentinian station Radio Continental, Tagliafico said: “Ajax it’s a great club, but as a player of course you dream of playing in the biggest leagues and the Premier League is right now the most competitive one, a bit above La Liga and Serie A.”
Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal showed an interest in Argentina international Tagliafico, who can play at left-back and left wing-back, last summer, but they eventually signed Kieran Tierney instead.
Lampard is likely to allow one of his current left-backs, Marcos Alonso, to leave the club at the end of this season if the Spaniard receives an offer to go.
Other than a left-back, Lampard is targeting a striker, another wide player and potentially a new central defender.