Transfer rumours linking N’Golo Kante with a huge summer approach from Real Madrid have forced Chelsea to slap a huge price on the all-action midfield star.
The World Cup winner is reportedly the subject of growing interest from the Spanish giants, who are ready to test their luck by making an approach to the Blues for the star, just a year after luring his former teammate Eden Hazard to the Bernabeu in a £100m deal.
Links between Kante and Real date back to earlier this season when it was claimed the midfielder had ‘lost faith’ in Chelsea’s ability to challenge for the Premier League title and that Kante ‘dreams of wearing the white’ of Real Madrid.
And those rumours have cranked up a notch over the past few weeks with Diario Madridista claiming Zinedine Zidane was desperate to bring his countryman to the club when the summer window opens.
However, the same publication claims Chelsea have responded to growing interest in the player by slapping a mammoth asking price of between £70.3million (€80m) and £79.1million (€90m) on his head.
It’s believed that asking price for the 29-year-old would deter Real from making a move with the report claiming that asking price is likely to be beyond their price range.
Furthermore, Chelsea have more cause for relief amid claims that Kante’s reported £280,000 a week wage package is also beyond what Real are willing to offer him, while the player’s age – 29 – is also reported to have dissuaded them from following up their initial interest.
As such, Diario Madrista now claim Los Blancos bosses have two alternative targets in mind to Kante, with targets of both Liverpool and Manchester United now in their range instead.
Top of Real’s wishlist now, is apparently Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, with the 24-year-old strongly linked with a summer move to Anfield.
The player’s agent Alvaro Torres recently admitted plenty of big clubs had taken an interest in his client, with Real’s name among those mentioned.
“It is obvious that there are many important clubs that have asked for him, he has spent three seasons at a high level,” Torres told Canal Sur Radio.
“Yes, it is true that Real has taken an interest, we said it to Napoli, but at the moment he must concentrate on his team.
“In the summer we will see. He is a midfielder who will mark an era.”
Those rumours are only likely to grow after it was suggested Napoli had reduced the player’s asking price to this bargain fee.
Real are also reported to be considering a move for Rennes sensation Edouardo Camavinga. The 17-year-old midfielder has been linked with moves to Tottenham and Manchester United – but now it’s reported we can add Real’s name to his growing list of admirers.
Poyet makes Kante suggestion
News that Real’s interest in Kante has eased will come as some relief to Chelsea, though former player Gus Poyet reckons Blues boss Frank Lampard is still to get the best out of the midfielder.
Speaking to Goal, Poyet said: “In very important games Lampard went with Kante, Jorginho and [Mateo] Kovacic until the last month with injuries.
“Those are the three most experienced players who played under Sarri but now they play with more freedom, especially in Jorginho having more possibilities to move around to go sideways and forward. Last year, he was very static. There are plenty of options.
“In Kante’s first year, he came to Chelsea and I made it public that he is the best central midfielder in the world. After a previous season as a number eight in that different position, we lost how important and unique he was as a player.
“I hope he can get back to that. In his best position, he is unique and there’s not many players that can give you what he can do right now.”