N’Golo Kante’s Contract Talks with Chelsea Break Down
Chelsea’s star midfielder, N’Golo Kante, is reportedly keen to stay in west London. However, the failure of contract extension talks to progress has left Saudi Arabian sides on tenterhooks to tempt the Frenchman into a move. Kante, widely regarded as one of the leading central midfielders in the world, finds his future clouded in uncertainty as his current deal at Stamford Bridge is up this summer.
The 32-year-old has reportedly attracted interest from Al-Ittihad, with the club’s representatives believed to have travelled to London to hold discussions with the player’s entourage. Al-Ittihad, the Saudi Pro League champions, have recently pulled off the sizeable coup of landing Karim Benzema on a three-year deal worth £258million, after the Ballon d’Or winner left Real Madrid after 14 trophy-laden seasons. As a result, the French striker could be set to reunite with his international team-mate Kante in Saudi Arabia, if the midfielder is unable to agree on new terms with Chelsea.
Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted, “N’Golo Kante situation remains open as he’d love to stay at Chelsea but talks are not advancing to final stages after being close to full agreement in March. Understand Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr are the two Saudi clubs who are ready to tempt Kante for new experience.”
🚨 EXCL: Saudi emissaries, in London to present an official proposal to N’Golo Kanté. #CFC
Salary bid could reach €100m inclusive of the image rights & commercial deals.
Previous reports stated that talks between Al-Ittihad and Kante’s camp started several days ago and the aim is for an agreement to be reached as soon as possible. With Cristiano Ronaldo already at Al-Nassr, there could be further stars heading to Saudi Arabia this summer. Lionel Messi, for instance, is reportedly linked with a big-money switch to Al-Hilal, potentially joining his fellow Ballon d’Or winners.
Kante first joined the Blues in 2016, winning back-to-back Premier League titles with two different clubs in the process, having done so with Leicester in 2015-16. Despite his stature within the game, it is unclear whether he will be part of Mauricio Pochettino’s plans next season.
Potential Departures and Arrivals
Chelsea has invested heavily in recent transfer windows – nearly £600million since Todd Boehly took over last summer – and the club’s ranks are now bloated to the tune of around 30 players. As such, a number of current stars are anticipated to be leaving, including the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Edouard Mendy, Mateo Kovacic, Kalidou Koulibaly and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Should Kante leave, the Blues would be left with few players capable of playing in a deeper midfield role, with Kovacic linked with a switch to Treble-chasers Manchester City. With a view to potentially plugging this gap, the club has reportedly been chasing Brighton’s highly-regarded Ecuadorian international Moises Caicedo.
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