Chelsea fear missing out as two rivals want ‘special’ €85m defender; veteran is ‘unlikely to stay’

Lewis Oldham
Chelsea target RB Leipzig duo

Fabrizio Romano thinks N’Golo Kante is ‘unlikely to stay’ at Chelsea beyond this term and he has offered an update on Josko Gvardiol and Christopher Nkunku.

Chelsea paid £32m to sign Kante in 2016 after he helped Leicester City pull off the unthinkable as they won the Premier League.

The Frenchman has shone for Chelsea over the past few seasons as he has been one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

But his time at Chelsea appears to be nearing its conclusion as he is out of contract in 2023.

He has missed much of this season with a hamstring injury and Chelsea appear to be looking to the future with the players they are signing under new co-owner Todd Boehly.

18-year-olds Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina joined the Blues in the summer and they also spent big to bring in 21-year-old Wesley Fofana from Leicester City.

Transfer guru Romano thinks it is ‘likely’ that Kante will depart Chelsea next summer.

‘Where N’Golo Kante could go, it’s still too early to say. He doesn’t seem likely to stay because there’s still no agreement with Chelsea,’ Romano wrote for Caught Offside.

‘Kante loves Chelsea and he’d love to stay but the club is going in a different direction with the salaries/young players project.

‘Chelsea are following many young and talented midfielders to be ready in 2023, January or summer. Only Graham Potter can change the situation.’

In terms of players potentially coming in, Chelsea are trying to sign Gvardiol and Nkunku from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

Their move for Nkunku is ‘almost ready’ after they moved ahead of their rivals to ‘agree’ a transfer that will be completed next summer. 

Chelsea are also attempting to sign Gvardiol, but they face competition from Manchester City and Real Madrid.

‘Chelsea are still interested in a deal for Josko Gvardiol, but it looks like being an open race for his signature as he prepares for a big transfer in 2023,” Romano continued.

‘He’s been fantastic for RB Leipzig and now at the World Cup with Croatia – a special player with a top mentality.

‘Chelsea made an official bid for Gvardiol towards the end of August. Todd Boehly offered €80m plus add-ons, but Leipzig said no and extended his contract.

‘Still, he is now set to be given the chance to find a new club in 2023, and this was discussed when he extended his contract. Chelsea are still in touch with Leipzig and with those close to the player.

‘Chelsea’s relationship with Leipzig is good, Christopher Nkunku is almost ready to go, and they are now working on Gvardiol as well. He’s also spoken highly of Chelsea, but also of Real Madrid.

‘There are no official bids, but Chelsea are there, but it’s important to say that Manchester City have also shown an interest. Many clubs are attracted to Gvardiol.’

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