Premier League • England

Popular Chelsea star could follow Cristiano Ronaldo after Al Nassr begin plotting impressive free transfer

N'Golo Kante and Jorginho of Chelsea

Al Nassr are still working on taking Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia but could quickly turn their attention to someone else from the Premier League once they get him over the line, according to reports.

Ronaldo is on the lookout for a new club after being released by Manchester United. Although he may have preferred to continue his career in Europe, the most lucrative offer has come from the Middle East.

Al Nassr might now be Ronaldo’s best option to keep his career going at club level. His arrival would be a huge boost for the profile of not just Al Nassr, but the Saudi Professional League as a whole.

Now, it has emerged that Rudi Garcia’s side have their eyes on another Premier League talent. According to Foot Mercato, Al Nassr are interested in Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.

About to enter the final six months of his contract at Stamford Bridge, Kante has been facing an uncertain future. He was only able to play in the first two Premier League matches of this season before succumbing to an injury.

Therefore, Chelsea could soon sever their ties with the 31-year-old, despite his popularity. Kante, though, retains a significant list of admirers in case he too has to find a new club.

For example, Barcelona have been eyeing the opportunity to sign him as a free agent in the summer. It would follow their 2021 acquisition of ex-Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen on the same terms.

But European suitors like Barcelona are now facing the threat of Al Nassr for Kante. According to Foot Mercato, although the former Leicester man isn’t against staying in London, he would be open to joining the Saudi side.

Kante could leave Europe for first time

Financially, they may have a better chance of signing him than Barcelona. The only problem for Al Nassr, the report reminds, is that they would need to get rid of some of their existing foreign players before accommodating Ronaldo and Kante.

If they can do so before June, though, they might be able to incorporate Kante into their squad too.

For now, their main focus is on getting a deal for Ronaldo over the line. But it seems they won’t be stopping there in terms of taking familiar faces to Riyadh.

Kante can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside the Premier League from January onwards. He may be best off taking all his options into account before making a commitment, though, so there is no rush.

He has made 262 appearances across his Chelsea career, scoring 13 goals. The number seven won the Premier League title with them in 2016-17 after also doing so with Leicester City 12 months prior.

Perhaps a new challenge could be on its way for Kante in 2023. He has spent all his professional career in either France or England so far.

It would be interesting to see how the attention on Saudi football would grow if he ended up on the same side as Ronaldo over there.

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