Premier League • England

Chelsea star rejects Cristiano Ronaldo opportunity as Todd Boehly takes big leap in contract discussions

Marc Cucurella, N'Golo Kante and Reece James

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante appears set to reject the chance to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo after a trusted source revealed he is close to penning a new Blues contract.

Kante is one of several players who will become a free agent at the end of the season, unless Chelsea officials act. Jorginho, Thiago Silva and Marcus Bettinelli are all in similar positions.

Due to Kante’s recent injury problems, there have been major doubts over whether he would get given fresh terms in west London. He suffered with groin and knee issues last season, but things have gotten far worse this time around.

The central midfielder only made two appearances in the Premier League before picking up a hamstring injury. And he has been out of action ever since, leaving new manager Graham Potter with one less option in the centre of the pitch.

Some pundits and fans were expecting Chelsea to let Kante leave on a free transfer next summer. This would save them some wages to bring in a younger replacement who is less prone to injuries.

This potential stance led to rumours Kante might swap the Blues for Barcelona. On December 19, Spanish outlet AS claimed the Frenchman to be in ‘advanced’ talks with Barca.

There have also been links with Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr. On Boxing Day, French source Foot Mercato suggested Kante might link up with Ronaldo by signing for Al Nassr.

They have apparently booked Ronaldo in for a medical and are trying to get his transfer over the line by January 1. They have also set their sights on Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos.

Al Nassr to admit defeat in N’Golo Kante hunt

Unfortunately for Al Nassr, it seems they will miss out on Kante. As per The Athletic journalist David Ornstein, he is poised to reject Al Nassr’s advances and instead sign a new deal with Chelsea.

Club chiefs, including Todd Boehly, have made serious progress in the contract discussions recently. The deal is not finalised, but Ornstein says it is now ‘likely’ Kante will remain at Stamford Bridge for the next few years.

As the box-to-box midfielder is now 31 years old, a relatively long contract could be his last. Chelsea fans would love to see him hang up his boots at the club, given the fact he has been a loyal servant to them.

Everyone involved with Chelsea will be hoping Kante can return to the first team soon after his contract situation is resolved. There had been hope he would return before the World Cup, but that did not happen. Instead, it is now looking like Kante will be back on the field around February time.

David Ornstein reveals Chelsea midfield plans

Ornstein also provides some insight on what signings Chelsea will try to make next year. He states they are looking to add ‘at least one midfielder’ to their ranks in either January or the summer. Enzo Fernandez and Jude Bellingham are ‘high among [their] options’.

Chelsea seem to be coming up with a good plan for the midfield. They will probably tie down both Kante and Jorginho to new deals, which will prevent their exits from happening any time soon.

Chelsea still need long-term replacements for the duo though, which is where Fernandez or Bellingham fit in.

The only trouble is Boehly will have to spend big on either Fernandez or Bellingham. This is because Liverpool like the look of both of them. Plus, Bellingham in particular is a target for Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, a Brazilian sensation has explained why he decided to join Real Madrid instead of Chelsea.