N’Golo Kante has reportedly agreed a deal to join Arsenal from Chelsea at the end of the season.
The French midfielder is out of contract this summer and looks set to leave after seven terrific years at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have made some horrendous signings over the years, but they really struck gold when they bought Kante from Leicester City for around £32million in 2016.
He has been one of the most consistent players in world football since moving to England a year prior and played a crucial part in the Blues’ Premier League success in his debut season, before returning from injury in 2021 to help them win the Champions League.
Despite his evident world-class ability, it is understandable why the West London club’s hierarchy are reluctant to offer Kante a new contract.
His injury record is a huge worry and makes it difficult to justify giving in to his wage demands, even if he is arguably the best in his position when available.
Despite this, there is plenty of interest in Kante ahead of the summer transfer window.
Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona – who love a free transfer – are both believed to be keen, however, the player is not.
Kante reportedly wants to stay in England, preferably London. This means the only plausible destinations for him would be Arsenal, Tottenham, or Chelsea – who would need to agree a new contract with him.
It has hard to imagine the 32-year-old moving to Crystal Palace, Brentford, Fulham or West Ham, with all due respect.
Having said that, if Chelsea, of all teams, don’t want to pay what Kante seeks, would Arsenal or Spurs?
The latter probably would, but a move to the Emirates would not make much sense, even though the Gunners do love signing aging Chelsea players.
They bought Jorginho in January for around £12m after Mikel Arteta failed to bring in Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, and have also signed Willian, David Luiz and Petr Cech in recent years.
The signing of Kante may seem unrealistic to me, but Spanish outlet Todo Fichajes reckon the player has accepted a proposal from Chelsea’s London rivals.
‘It seems’ like the former Leicester midfielder will leave the Blues when his contract expires at the end of 2022-23 after he initially ‘prioritised’ extending his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Kante ‘wants to continue in London’, the report states, despite offers from Spain and elsewhere in England.
And according to their information, Kante has ‘given his OK’ to the ‘proposal’ Arsenal made for him ‘weeks ago’.
Gunners boss Arteta has been ‘insisting’ on the signing ‘for some time’ as he does not have a similar player at his disposal.
The offer on the table is ‘for the next two seasons’, though there is the option for a third year.
The French international would receive ‘similar economic conditions’ to those he earns at Chelsea.
It is true that Arteta does not have a player like Kante in his squad and it would be hard to envision him playing in the Spaniard’s system.
Arsenal’s number-one summer target is reportedly West Ham captain Declan Rice, who would be an ideal player as someone who could play in Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka’s positions.
Kante, on the other hand, obviously has incredible defensive qualities but has never really been utilised as a lone No. 6, nor in a role like Xhaka’s, which requires being a goal threat.