Thomas Tuchel has urged Chelsea to finalise new contracts for midfield duo N'Golo Kante and Jorginho this summer before they find themselves in another mess.
The Blues will lose Andreas Christensen to Barcelona on a free transfer this summer and are scrambling to keep fellow defenders Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta at the club beyond this season.
Rudiger has not agreed an extension and is currently free to leave in the summer, and while a one-year option has been triggered in Azpilicueta's deal, the veteran defender could still be allowed to leave if he fails to agree on fresh terms.
Tuchel rued Chelsea's willingness to let the trio's deals run down at the same time and stressed that he does not want a repeat in 2023, when Kante and Jorginho's current contracts are up.
"With important players, it’s a wish as a coach that we solve this in the summer anyway," Tuchel said. That it’s clear where the journey is, what the decision is.
“Then we have the same talks about Toni and Andreas, we just swap the names, we talk about it through winter, then comes January, then the agents talk with these clubs and the brother to the other...it would be nice if we can avoid it.
“But in the moment, it’s a bit difficult. Yes, this should be the target for all of us.”
Tuchel also took the chance to defend 31-year-old Kante, who has attracted some unwanted attention for a run of poor form which saw him hooked at half-time of the recent 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid.
"One thing is clear that N'Golo is a key player because he has outstanding, unique qualities," the boss said.
"He's a unique player, who gives us something nobody else can. He's struggling with consistency due to injuries, illness and this is also the reason for our bit of inconsistency.
"We have missed him for so many matches, now he's fasting due to his religion and beliefs so maybe another reason. Not for the first time but if for many days you don't drink or eat it can have an effect.
"Maybe it's also part of the explanation we had the feeling he's not on his highest level if you can compare him against Real Madrid last year. This is nothing to be ashamed of or to feel sorry for. We try to push him because we know what he has when he's on the pitch."