Chelsea have agreed a £29,2 million fee for N’Golo Kante with English Premiership soccer champions Leicester City, according to reports.
The midfielder has been linked with big-money moves to the likes of Real Madrid after a sensational 2015-16 season which saw him with a shock English Premier League title with the Foxes and nominated for PFA Player of the Year.
But French paper Le Parisien say that the Blues have made significant moves in the last 24 hours to seal a deal for the France star.
Antonio Conte is said to have agreed a five-year contract with the 25-year-old Premier League winner.
Paris St-Germain have been heavily linked with the Fox, who caught the eye during his side’s dream run to the title last term.
Kante has a £20m release clause, but Leicester have an option to accept the highest offer if more than one bid comes in over that amount.
Chinese side Shanghai SIPG and PSG have been making moves and that has forced Conte to up his proposal.
Kante has rejected a new £100 000-a-week contract at Leicester and looks increasingly likely to move.
The Telegraph say that Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus are all also interested, but Chelsea are doing all the running at the moment.
Chelsea were forced to go higher than Kante’s buy-out clause to compete with Shanghai SIPG’s offer.
The move will surely raise question marks over the future of Nemanja Matic, who has been heavily linked with a Jose Mourinho reunion at Manchester United.
Blues legend, Claude Makelele, told SunSport his heir in France holding role “needs to play in a big team”.
Real Madrid had emerged as favourites to sign the 25-year-old with boss Zinedine Zidane identifying Kante’s role as the only position the European champions needed to strengthen this summer.
Claudio Ranieri signed the French midfielder from Caen last season for around £5,6m in what will be regarded as one of the biggest bargains in Premier League history.
He became an integral member of the Leicester side which caused one of the biggest upsets in football history by winning the title.
Kante was nominated for PFA Player of the Year and named in the Team of the Year.
He was part of the France side which finished runners-up at Euro 2016 — losing 1-0 to Portugal in the final.
Meanwhile, Chelsea rewarded their player of the year, Brazilian international midfielder Willian, with a new four-year contract on Tuesday, the English Premier League club announced.
The 27-year-old — who Chelsea beat off London rivals Spurs to buy for £32million three years ago from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala — professed himself delighted to be continuing his career with the club.
“I’m very happy to sign a new contract with Chelsea,” Willian told the club’s website.
“It’s a dream to continue with this club and over the next four years I will try to help the team win more trophies,” added Willian, who caught the eye of potential suitors as part of the hugely successful Ukrainian side Shakhthar Donetsk who won the now defunct UEFA Cup in 2009.
Willian, who has scored 19 goals in 140 appearances, had been linked with a possible big money reunion with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
However, despite winning the Premier League title and League Cup under Mourinho, Willian is content to taste life under Chelsea’s new manager, Italian Antonio Conte.
“It’s been an amazing time for me since I joined the club three years ago, I have won titles and last season I was named Chelsea Player of the Year,” said Willian.
“I hope to be able to stay at that level during the coming seasons and achieve more success.” — AFP.