Antonio Conte says that neither he nor Chelsea have yet opened talks with John Obi Mikel to extend his contract beyond next summer.
Mikel is Chelsea’s second-longest-serving player after John Terry but will be permitted to talk to other clubs from January if he is not offered a new deal.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria captain has still yet to make a matchday squad for Conte this season after missing the end of pre-season and the start of the full campaign to play in the Olympics.
“Now? Have I spoken to him now? No. No. No but, I repeat, now it’s important to be focused on the championship in this period,” Conte told reporters.
“We are in November. It’s important to be focused on the pitch. Then, we can focus other situations in time. It’s normal in every squad, there are players who are towards the end of their contract, and they and the club together take a decision on their futures.”
“Mikel is working very well now. In the past he’s sometimes had some injuries but now he’s working very hard and I’m pleased with his work-rate.”
Mikel has struggled to find a place this term after the arrival of N’Golo Kante arrived while Nemanja Matic, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas and Nathaniel Chalobah appear to also be ahead of him in Conte’s reckoning.