Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has refused to be drawn on the future of midfielder John Mikel Obi.
The Nigeria international, who has been at Stamford Bridge for 10 years, is out of contract next summer.
Mikel has not even been named on the bench under Conte and there had been reports that the 29-year-old would be free to leave.
Conte said he had not yet spoken to Mikel about his future but hinted there may be discussions in January.
“In every squad there are players who arrive at the end of their contract and then together the club will take a decision,” the Italian said at a press conference ahead of Saturdays match against Everton.
“We are in November – in the new year we can face other situations.
“The most important thing is that Mikel is working very well, because in the past sometimes he had some injuries. I am pleased with his work rate.”
Conte also said it was “too early” to comment on whether Cesc Fabregas might leave Chelsea on loan in January.
There had been speculation about the Spaniard’s future this season as he has not been a first-choice player under Conte.
“I think for this type of situation it is too early to talk,” Conte said.
“Cesc is Chelsea’s player and I am very happy to have him in my squad.
“Now it is important to find the right form to come back with us [after his injury] and then stay with us and the team.”
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