CHELSEA risk losing N’Golo Kante if they continue to play him out of position, according to former Blues forward Tony Cascarino.
The France international signed a new five-year contract until 2023 last week to warn off interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
But Maurizio Sarri has moved the 27-year-old into a more advanced role this season, with summer arrival Jorginho deployed at the base of the Chelsea midfield.
Italy international played under Sarri for three years at Napoli and turned down a move to Manchester City to join the coach at Stamford Bridge.
Despite making an encouraging start to life in England, Jorginho was badly exposed in the defeat to Tottenham as his new club’s unbeaten league record was ended in emphatic fashion.
But despite that display and Kante’s success in the position where he inspired Leicester and the west Londoners to the Premier League title, Sarri feels Kante is not “technical” enough for the deep-lying role.
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And by removing him from his natural position, Cascarino feels Sarri could be forcing Kante out of Chelsea.
He told Talksport: “I don’t think Sarri’s comments about Kante being more technical were too much to be concerned about.
“I think the bigger issue with Kante is they have given him a new contract because they know so many clubs are sniffing around him, but he’s being played out of position.
“You feel he’s wasted.
“I think certainly PSG would be in for him as well as other clubs, and why wouldn’t they? He’s the best at his position in the world, without a doubt, for me.
“That’s why he signed a new deal, but I don’t believe it will be enough to keep him there if Kante plays in that position all season.
“I think by the end of the season he might have had enough, knowing he’s a far better player in the positions he is more accustomed to.”
Upon arriving at Napoli in 2015, Jorginho immediate became a trusted lieutenant under the coach.
The Gli Azzurri achieved qualification for the Champions League in each of their three campaigns together, and twice finished as runners-up in Serie A to champions Juventus.
Despite being seemingly destined to join Pep Guardiola at Premier League holders City, Jorginho made a late u-turn to join Chelsea – a deal confirmed just hours after Sarri’s appointment was announced.
He was described as “one of the steps” needed for Chelsea to bridge the gap to City, by Sarri.
In starting all 13 of the club’s Premier League games he has quickly become the first name on the team sheet.
Therefore it was only natural that the 59-year-old would jump to his defence after Spurs ran riot in their 3-1 weekend win at Wembley.
He told the media: “As you know, I want to play a central midfielder as a very technical player – a Jorginho or Cesc Fàbregas.
“I don’t want Kanté in this position.
“Kanté, in the last match, wanted to solve the match after the first 15 minutes but in the wrong way.
“He lost his position. He attacked too much the other box.
“And I think this is not one of the best characteristics of Kanté, but it was only a reaction to the difficulties.
“Maybe it’s only a question of time before he learns the role.
“But when the ball is on the other side, the left, Kanté has to stay very close to Jorginho.”