Lynchpin Kante reveals Chelsea players’ reaction to Abramovich exit
France midfielder N'Golo Kante has admitted that his fellow Premier League stars were taken aback by Roman Abramovich's shock announcement on Wednesday that he will sell Chelsea – and urged the squad to take control of their destiny amid uncertainty over the future of the club as the Russian's reign of almost 20 years nears an abrupt end.
Ballon d'Or contender Kante has been one of the shining lights in the recent history of Abramovich's transformative time at Stamford Bridge, winning nine trophies since signing in 2016, including the Premier League in 2017 and the Champions League in 2021.
There are now major questions over whether Chelsea will continue to be one of the financial powerhouses in the English top flight without the backing of the billionaire who has bankrolled their immense success.
"It's something we were not prepared [for] – it came quickly," 2018 Russia World Cup winner Kante, who reportedly earns around $384,000 a week, told Sky Sports News via talkSPORT.
“But the only thing we can do, because we don’t control these things, is to do the best that we have always done.
“That means playing football at the best [possible level] for us, for the club, for the fans – and [we will] see how things are going. It’s the only thing we can control.”
Abramovich called the decision to sell his beloved Blues "incredibly difficult", acting after the prospect of sanctions against the 55-year-old was raised in the UK parliament.
The businessman has always vehemently denied that he has links to Russian president Vladimir Putin or done anything to warrant punishment.
Kante's words echoed the views of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who was appointed by Abramovich and a board including Russian-Canadian Director Marina Granovskaia in January 2021.
The German coach cut a frustrated figure as he fielded questions from reporters about the future of the club ahead of an FA Cup win at second-tier Luton on the evening Abramovich announced a departure he is thought to want to make imminently.
Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has already discussed Abramovich's move and his interest in the club.
The philanthropist is thought to be concocting an offer alongside Todd Boehly, a part-owner of Major League Baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Reports have suggested that Wyss could place his bid at the end of a weekend in which Chelsea will travel to relegation-threatened Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.
Former Premier League Player of the Season Kante wants the third-placed visitors to concentrate on their performances at an unsettling time.
"Since I came here, I’ve spent many great seasons with the team, the managers and the fans," said the 30-year-old, whose contract expires in 2023.
"I hope we can carry on like this, keep winning – and that’s the way I see the future."