Premier League • England

Chelsea Kante exit fears reach heightened level of panic amid revelation of two destinations he wouldn’t rule out

NGolo Kante Chelsea May 2022

Chelsea are not just at risk of seeing N’Golo Kante walk away for free in 2023, but of him doing so to join a direct rival, according to reports in his native France.

Kante is into the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge and there are growing fears he might not renew his deal. Reports have indicated that he has rejected their offer of an extension over a disagreement about the length of the deal.

In turn, several other clubs have been sniffing around. Kante could sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs from January 1.

But if he waits until the end of the season, he could pick another Premier League side to join. And according to French outlet Foot Mercato, Kante has become of interest to two direct rivals to Chelsea.

It is claimed that the 31-year-old is keen to continue his time in the Premier League. Specifically, he does not particularly want to uproot from London.

With that in mind, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have both become contenders for his signature. Each are showing ambition to strive for Champions League involvement; Spurs edged the Gunners to fourth place last season, but now Mikel Arteta’s side top the Premier League table after eight games of the new campaign.

It remains to be seen where both will be at when the time comes for Kante to choose his next club. But it seems as if they will be considered if they decide to make any attempt to sign him.

Foot Mercato remains quite adamant that Chelsea will not be extending Kante’s contract on huge wages. His injury record in recent years has given them second thoughts, despite his previous status as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

Kante could stay in London

Therefore, he is looking more likely to make a move, which could have their two London rivals on alert.

Coincidentally, Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte was in charge of Chelsea when Kante joined them in 2016. A while before then, Arsenal had a chance to sign him when Arsene Wenger was still in charge and the midfielder was still an unknown in France.

Perhaps Kante’s future could lie in north London after all. One solution looking less likely would be to head back to his city of birth, Paris, with PSG. According to Foot Mercato, the French champions’ interest in Kante is not mutual.

Therefore, it might be more likely for his next move not to be by much distance at all.

Chelsea in tricky situation

Obviously, even though they have their own concerns about Kante now, Chelsea would probably not want to see him strengthening a rival, close both geographically and by position in the Premier League table.

How this might impact their own plans for his future remains unclear. Would it be better to sell him to another club in January while they still can? Or should they concede to his demands?

The latter strategy would be risky if they have doubts about his longevity. But if they try to offload him, he will still have to agree to any destination.

Therefore, the situation is sliding away from Chelsea’s control. If they do end up losing Kante to another Premier League side, they will only hope he does not come back to haunt them.

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