Chelsea have confirmed that N’Golo Kante has left their camp in Japan to return to London for further treatment on his ongoing knee injury.
Kante has struggled to shake off a knee problem that he sustained in the build-up to Chelsea’s Europa League final against Arsenal in May.
Despite the troubling symptoms, then-Blues coach Maurizio Sarri allowed the Frenchman to play the full 90 minutes as the club thrashed Arsenal 4-1 in Baku.
However, Kante has since missed games for both France and Chelsea and seems set to spend some more time on the sidelines after leaving Saitama on Saturday.
“N’Golo Kante has travelled back to the UK to continue his rehabilitation for an injury connected to the knee problem he sustained at the end of last season, ” read a club statement.
Chelsea will be desperately hoping that it’s nothing serious as Kante has become a key man for them since joining from Leicester City in 2016 for €36m.
Although the 28-year-old has been actively participating in the Blues training sessions despite not featuring in any of the pre-season games.
Kante was last seen in training on Thursday, where he completed a few exercises before working with one of Frank Lampard’s coaching staff for the remainder of the session.
“[He’s] still feeling the effects of his injury from the end of last season, which we know with the Europa League final,” said manager Lampard earlier this week.
“It’s not a problem, we know he’s a fit boy, we know he’s got a great attitude.”
Kane’s absence, though, could open the door for 20-year-old Mason Mount to get some valuable playing time in the midfield after impressing during Friday’s 1-0 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale.
The youngster spent last season on loan at Derby County under Lampard, where he managed eight goals and five assists in 35 appearances.
Chelsea will take on Barcelona in another friendly on Tuesday in Japan.