Premier League • England

Sources: Senior Chelsea star to follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia as multiple wealthy clubs register interest

Thiago Silva and N'Golo Kante of Chelsea

A big-name Chelsea star has emerged as a target for multiple Saudi Arabian clubs this summer, TEAMtalk understands.

Chelsea must offload a host of players at the end of the season for two reasons. First of all, they must make the squad easier to manage for their next head coach, which is likely to be ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Secondly, Chelsea need to sell players so they can balance the books and help prevent Financial Fair Play sanctions, having spent over £600million in the last two transfers windows.

The likes of Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Christian Pulisic and Kalidou Koulibaly have been tipped to depart Stamford Bridge.

But while those players would bring in funds for Chelsea, the Blues stand to earn nothing from N’Golo Kante’s potential exit.

Kante is out of contract come the end of June and has yet to agree a new deal to extend his spell in West London.

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And TEAMtalk has been told several teams from the Saudi Pro League are hoping to tempt him to the Middle East on a free transfer.

Chelsea are eager to keep Kante by tying him down a contract extension. But they are aware of growing interest in the Frenchman’s services.

N’Golo Kante to receive several big-money offers

A number of clubs across Europe are keeping tabs on Kante’s situation and will pounce if the all-action midfielder becomes available on a free.

The Saudi Arabian top flight is looking to boost its profile further, having already seen Cristiano Ronaldo go to Al-Nassr in January. A number of the league’s clubs are exploring other big-name signings, with Kante high up in their thinking.

Kante’s Middle Eastern suitors are hoping a lucrative offer could persuade him to ditch European football altogether.

The 32-year-old has missed a large chunk of the current campaign through injury which also forced him to miss the World Cup in Qatar.

The former Leicester star has made just eight appearances in all competitions for Chelsea so far this season. His absence has been a contributing factor to Chelsea’s poor form, with the 2021 Champions League winners occupying 12th spot in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are in talks over a £45m move for a midfielder which would leave Erik ten Hag and Man Utd empty-handed, according to reports.