Chelsea could now decide to sell N’Golo Kante during the January transfer window and have set an asking price for the midfielder, according to a report.
Kante is in the final year of his contract with Chelsea, whom he has represented with distinction since 2016. Injury issues have prevented him from making any appearances under Graham Potter so far. In addition, he will be absent for the World Cup with France.
While Kante has been recovering from his hamstring issue, there have been plenty of rumours about his potential departure from Chelsea. He will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside England from January.
However, Chelsea might try to offload him for a transfer fee at their last opportunity, with the chances of a contract renewal decreasing by the day.
According to La Repubblica, it is becoming possible that Chelsea will sell Kante in January, rather than keeping him until he becomes a free agent.
The report claims that Chelsea have “surprisingly” opened up to the idea of cashing in on the 31-year-old. To let go of him, they are asking interested parties to pay them £18million.
While Chelsea have not given up on the idea of renewing his contract, a “not idyllic” relationship with Potter is standing in the way.
Hence, four clubs are now looking into the idea of prising Kante away from Stamford Bridge.
Perhaps most concerningly, Premier League rivals Tottenham are one of them. The move across London could reunite Kante with ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte.
Alternatively, Kante could leave the Premier League behind. Paris Saint-Germain might take him back to his native France, although they are currently thinking about building a project with younger players instead.
Hence, the report has predicted a two-way battle to take Kante to Serie A, which would be a brand new experience for him.
Interest from Juventus recently came to light, but now it is being reported that Inter Milan are keen on him too.
According to La Repubblica, both of the Italian clubs have reached out to Kante’s representatives already. However, they have discovered that his salary of over £15million per year (£290,000 per week) would be beyond their reach.
Therefore, they might need Kante to show some willingness to find a compromise if he wants to join them.
Where should Kante go next?
Despite his physical setbacks in recent months, Kante remains an attractive player for many elite clubs.
Therefore, he should have a few options available to him for his next step after Chelsea.
The idea of staying in the Premier League, without having to move cities, could be tempting. However, any decision to go to Tottenham should be based on various factors and not just Conte, whose own future may be uncertain.
Hence, Kante should perhaps listen to his suitors abroad as well. It would be particularly interesting to see how he would apply his talents in the more tactical Serie A.
Juventus have been trying to upgrade their midfield in recent months. However, they have been unable to use Kante’s compatriot Paul Pogba since his return from Manchester United due to injuries as well.
Inter, meanwhile, have seen the likes of Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella attract interest from other clubs in recent months.
Kante will have to think carefully about where he might fit in best. But wherever he goes, he will be keen to prove he still has something left in the tank.