N'Golo Kante out for Zenit Champions League opener as Man Utd lead Declan Rice transfer race

By Danyal Khan

Here is your football.london Chelsea morning digest on Tuesday, September 14.

N'Golo Kante out

Thomas Tuchel has revealed N'Golo Kante will not be involved for Chelsea for their Champions League opener against Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday.

The World Cup winner has been back in training over the past few days but the game in midweek comes too soon for him, with Tuchel hoping Kante will be back for the trip to Spurs in the Premier League this weekend.

Chelsea begin their Champions League defence against the Russian champions at Stamford Bridge and will also be without Christian Pulisic through injury as well as Kante.

Tuchel said: "N'Golo had two training sessions but the Champions League game comes a bit too early for him. We hope to have him fully 100 per cent ready to play Tottenham."

Read the full story here.

Cesar Azpilicueta has his say on Saul Niguez's disastrous debut

Cesar Azpilicueta has praised Saul Niguez’s determination to improve following his poor performance during his Chelsea debut on Saturday, the Metro report.

When asked to give his verdict on Saul’s start at Chelsea, Azpilicueta said: ‘Saul is a great player, I know him since his days in the national team, he has great experience at the highest level with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

"Of course, when he signed for Chelsea he had a bit of a stressful last hours in the transfer window, he arrived in a new country, had just a few training sessions, first game against a good opposition, they were very aggressive, it’s normal sometimes you need a bit more time to adapt.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta speaks to the media (UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

"His response has been absolutely spot on. His desire to improve, asking questions, he wants to adapt as quick as possible.

"Some players need more time than others, that’s completely natural.

"He has our full support. He’s a great addition, I’m very happy to have him in our team.

"I’m sure he’ll keep growing and help the team because we need it from everybody. I’m sure he’ll be an important player in the season."

Man Utd have fresh hope in Declan Rice transfer race

Manchester United believe that they hold the advantage over Chelsea in the Declan Rice transfer race after the Saul signing may have redirected Marina Granovskaia's focus for next summer.

The Daily Express have reported that United have made West Ham's No.41 a priority target and they ‘feel they are in a strong position’ to capture his signature.

The report goes on to add regarding the Saul decision: 'it is felt this has meant they are no longer keen on’ Rice - a player who they released as a 14-year-old from their academy.

football.london understands that West Ham have never received a bid for Rice and would not welcome one. The midfielder is understood to be happy at the club and on a long-term deal that does not expire until 2024 with the club holding an option to extend for a further 12 months.

Read more here.


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