Chelsea have reportedly made a breakthrough in talks with N’Golo Kante as the World Cup winner is now ‘likely’ to sign a new contract.
Kante is out of contract in 2023 and it was initially expected that he would leave on a free transfer.
The Frenchman has been a sensational signing for the Blues as he has helped them win the Premier League and Champions League.
But he has missed much of this season through injury and it was thought that this summer could have been an opportune time for him to move on.
FC Barcelona love a free transfer so they have naturally been linked with him. But they reportedly face competition from Middle East side Al-Nassr, who are set to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
Earlier this month, Fabrizio Romano reported that Kante is “unlikely to stay” at Chelsea beyond this season.
But The Athletic’s David Ornstein is now reporting that Chelsea have ‘made positive progress’ in talks with the 31-year-old.
Ornstein even states that there is ‘increasing confidence’ that Kante will decide to stay on at Chelsea.
Chelsea have always maintained that they want him to stay as ‘they view the 2018 World Cup winner as a legend and an extremely popular figure’.
It looks like Kante is on the same page as it is ‘likely’ that he will extend his stay at Stamford Bridge.
The deal is not fully agreed upon yet as ‘the contract length remains a key issue’ but Chelsea are ‘actively working on a compromise’.
This will be a big statement from Chelsea as Kante has ‘admirers’ in the Premier League. He also has potential ‘suitors’ in Spain and France.
Whether Kante stays or not, Chelsea are still looking to strengthen in centre-midfield. Ornstein is of the belief that ‘at least one recruit is expected in the upcoming transfer window or the subsequent market’.
The Blues have ‘concrete interest’ in Enzo Fernandez and Jude Bellingham, while Declan Rice, Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia are also ‘under consideration’.
Fernandez will not come cheap as there is a £105m release clause in his Benfica contract. He only joined the Portuguese side in the summer.
The midfielder shone for Argentina at the World Cup and his performances in Qatar are likely to earn him a move to the Premier League.
Ben Jacobs has confirmed that Chelsea are “seriously exploring” Fernandez’s situation.
“Benfica are adamant suitors must pay the release clause,” Jacobs wrote on Twitter.
“Not true Liverpool have bid. Chelsea are seriously exploring the situation but want a deal with more preferable payment terms.
“If they offer higher than the release clause to get this, Benfica aren’t obligated to accept. Benfica really want to keep Fernandez until at least summer.”
READ MORE: Enzo Fernandez for Jorginho will see chaos replace stability as Chelsea move with the midfield tide