Frank Lampard responds to N’Golo Kante exit rumours and hails Kai Havertz’s ‘unique’ quality


N’Golo Kante remains a key part of Frank Lampard’s project at Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has played down speculation N’Golo Kante could be set for a move to Inter Milan and insists the midfielder is ‘fundamental’ to his plans for the new season.

Kante, 29, will have been desperate to make an impression in Lampard’s debut year in charge at Stamford Bridge but made just 22 Premier League appearances across an injury-ravaged campaign last term.

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is keen to be reunited with Kante at Inter ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and the Serie A giants made a player-plus-cash offer to land the French World-Cup winner this summer.

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But Inter’s bid was swiftly rejected and Chelsea made it clear they had no interest in either Christian Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic, who were both made available in a potential agreement.

Asked about the recent rumours, Lampard told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I think pretty much every club in the world would want N’Golo Kante.

‘I saw those reports as well. He’s an incredible player and I certainly don’t want to lose him, no.

‘He’s fundamental to what I’m trying to do. We can obviously talk about the attacking players we have but someone like N’Golo and the work he does in midfield.

Kante is ‘fit and fresh’ ahead of the new campaign (Picture: Getty)

‘It was a difficult year for him last year because of the injuries.

‘He came into the season with an injury and it was a domino effect through the year which he hasn’t had and was probably the culmination of game, game, game for himself so I’m really excited to have him fit.

‘He looks fit and fresh at the moment so, no, he’s a big deal to me and of course I want to keep N’Golo.’

Havertz completed a £71m move from Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea this summer (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea have been one of Europe’s most active clubs in the transfer market, bringing in six new additions this summer, and Lampard is relishing the chance to work with ‘unique’ talent Kai Havertz.

‘I’ve loved him for a long time as a player since he came through,’ he added.

‘He’s a different player to what I was but, when it’s an attacking midfielder that scores goals, obviously I certainly sit up and take notice.

‘His style is very unique, he’s 6’2’’ plus which is a great help in the modern day to have tall players in forward areas like that but the most important thing about him is his natural quality of receiving the ball and talent on the ball and calmness and quality and he arrives to score goals.

‘He bring a great versatility for us, he started as a No.8 arriving in the box, sometimes plays on the wing, can play as a false No.9 and he’s very comfortable and happy to play in all those positions.

‘Being able to bring players like him and Timo Werner into the squad brings us a lot more energy and speed into the team which is something we always want at the top level because those players make the difference.’

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