earlier this week, chelsea announced that midfielder n’golo kante is expected to be out of action for four months following a successful operation on his hamstring. it means he will miss the qatar world cup with france in what is another unfortunate setback for the 32-year-old. however, as they often say, one man’s loss is another man’s gain and denis zakaria could be one positive to come out of a sad situation.
zakaria is the only outfield player yet to feature under graham potter this season apart from the injured kante. in fact, the 25-year-old is still waiting to make his chelsea debut having signed on loan from juventus zin the summer, which has led to reports that the deal could be cut short in january.
Despite his lack of game time so far, Potter insists that Zakaria remains “an important member of the team” and no such discussions have taken place. “No decision has been made at all,” he said during Tuesday’s presser. “Denis has been in the group. He’s been training well, he’s ready to help the team.
“Obviously there is competition for places in that area, but there’s no talk of anything. He’s an important member of the team. He’s being patient. He’s trying to help the team from the side at the moment, and waiting for his chance,” Potter added.
Although it’s probably not the way he would have wanted his opportunity to come about, Zakaria could get the breakthrough he needs as a result of Kante’s absence. Standing at 6ft 3in tall, the Swiss international offers physical strength and an additional aerial threat in front of the defence.
He is also known for chipping in with goals and assists, as well as possessing the mobility to cover large amounts of ground despite his stature. Speaking after Zakaria’s transfer was confirmed on deadline day, Blues owner Todd Boehly said:
“Denis is a talented midfielder with lots of quality and skill. He will add depth and range to our squad this season, and we are looking forward to watching him play in Chelsea blue.”