As Chelsea look to make a fresh start from three defeats in the Premier League before the start of the FIFA World Cup, they will continue to miss one of their key players, French midfielder N’Golo Kante. The 31-year-old 2018 World Cup winner picked up a hamstring injury earlier in the season which kept him out of the Chelsea squad for several months.

He also missed the World Cup in Qatar with France, along with fellow midfielder Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema, and now, he is set to miss the next few games for Chelsea as well. 

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Speaking at the press conference before the Premier League game with AFC Bournemouth, Chelsea manager Graham Potter said that Kante’s condition is still serious and he is unlikely to start for the London side any time soon. 

When asked about Kante, Potter said that the midfielder had to undergo surgery and it could take up to three to four months to fully recover from it. 

“It’s a surgery, yeah. It will be a minimum period of three-four months,” Potter said. “My focus is just to help him get back fit as soon as possible.”

“Everyone knows the qualities he has, so that’s not in question. So it’s more about helping him get fit, helping him get back on the pitch.”

When asked about a specific timeline for this return, the Chelsea manager said that it will be the end of February or early in March.

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“He is unwell. It will be end of Feb or start of March,” he said. 

Chelsea are also missing Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and there is no clarity as yet on when they will be back.

However, Reece James, who missed the World Cup with England due to an injury has fully recovered and can be expected to play against AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday.