N'Golo Kante looks set to become the latest recruit in Antonio Conte's rebuilding project at Stamford Bridge, after French newspaper Le Parisien reported this morning that Chelsea have agreed a fee for the France and Leicester City midfielder.
Kante reportedly has a release fee of £20 million in his contract but Leicester are within their rights to refuse bids of that price if another club has submitted a higher offer. Chelsea are said to have offered in the region of £29 million to attempt to ward off interest from China.
Le Parisien were first(-ish?) to report Kante's preference for Chelsea (in May); now they bring even better news https://t.co/GExlyUEKUy
— WAGNH (@WAGNH_CFC) July 13, 2016
Leicester are considering offering an improved contract to the Frenchman who was the engine of their title-winning season, though Kante has already rejected a new deal worth £100,000 per week.
Any sale of Kante would be a blow to Leicester's ambitions in the Champions League, though they have already signed a ready-made replacement in the form of Nampalys Mendy from Nice. Chelsea, meanwhile, are in dire need of a player of Kante's box-to-box abilities.
Kante's style of play harks back to the days when Claude Makelele bossed the Chelsea midfield during Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge of the blues. In fact, Makelele has said that Kante needs to move to a "big club" to fulfill his potential.
As quoted by the Express, Makelele said:
I don’t want N’Golo Kante to be compared with me. Kante can be Kante. I want him to be more than me, but I love to watch him play because you can see in him the joy. I love the kind of player like that, who plays for the team. Sometimes you see a team with big players, but for me whenever a team is winning it is because of spirit. He still has the same way of playing, the same happiness, but he needs to play in a big team.
Perhaps it's worth mentioning to Claude that Leicester finished in 1st place last season, a whole nine places ahead of Chelsea and any move to the blue side of London would mean that Kante won't play in the Champions League next season. But, to be fair, he'll probably pad his bank balance a lot more than he could by staying at the King Power Stadium.