Premier League • England

Chelsea fixated on rival Prem signing as Kante successor who could dominate for years to come

Wilfred Ndidi battling Romeo Lavia

Chelsea are focusing on a Southampton midfielder as the man who could replace N’Golo Kante in their engine room, according to a reporter.

Kante will be out of contract at the end of the season, in which he has only made two appearances due to injury. The midfielder made his name for his dynamic approach in the middle, but might not be the same player any more.

Now 31 years old and without a minute of action since August, Kante’s best days might be behind him. Hence, Chelsea might decide to release him at the end of his contract – or even sell him in January – rather than renewing his deal.

In that case, there will be an interesting battle for the Frenchman’s services. Chelsea, though, will have something else on their mind – how to replace him.

Midfield is an area Chelsea will be looking to invest in next year. Not only is Kante out of contract, but so too is Jorginho. Meanwhile, Denis Zakaria is only on loan from Juventus.

Therefore, the Blues might be ready for someone who can help them evolve in the department. One player who is of interest is Romeo Lavia.

Chelsea were quickly linked with the Belgium under-21 international shortly after he joined Southampton from Manchester City in the summer.

However, they are having to wait to try and get their hands on Lavia, who has impressed in his first seven Premier League appearances.

According to Belgian journalist Sacha Tavolieri, Lavia is “in the sights” of Chelsea. Indeed, the Blues believe he could be their next defensive midfielder after Kante.

There is not much more information at present, but Tavolieri makes it clear that it will come. Indeed, this is a story “to be continued”.

Southampton in no rush to sell Romeo Lavia

Southampton have Lavia under contract 2027. Therefore, they will not be in a hurry to see the back of him so soon after their investment.

They know they will be able to make a profit on him. But since they are currently in the relegation zone, now might not be the time to cash in on some of their better players.

Indeed, recently appointed manager Nathan Jones will need Lavia when the Premier League action resumes after the World Cup. If he does well, perhaps his market value could increase even further.

In turn, Southampton would benefit financially and Lavia would also have made himself even more attractive to clubs at the top level.

Moving to Chelsea as a successor to Kante would be a big responsibility for the former Anderlecht youth player, especially at this early stage of his career.

However, he has coped well with the challenge of breaking through at senior level with Southampton. Therefore, he is certainly someone worthy of Chelsea’s attention.

Only time will tell just how valuable a player he can become and when Chelsea might be able to take advantage.

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