Tuesday 6 December 2016

Antonio Conte speech helped sway N'Golo Kante to join Chelsea

Published 17/07/2016 | 17:11

France international N'Golo Kante left Leicester to join Chelsea on Saturday
France international N'Golo Kante left Leicester to join Chelsea on Saturday

New Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has revealed a speech from Antonio Conte helped convince him to leave Premier League champions Leicester for Stamford Bridge.

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The 25-year-old completed a move to Chelsea on Saturday in what was a club-record sale for Leicester with the fee thought to be worth around £32million to the reigning champions.

Kante, who was part of the France squad which reached the final of Euro 2016 on home soil, had only moved to the King Power Stadium 12 months ago but enjoyed a stellar debut season in England - playing a major role in delivering the title to the Foxes.

But, as part of an Instagram post which also paid tribute to the victims of the Nice terror attack, Kante said words from new Blues boss Conte were enough for him to leave the title holders.

"At the beginning of the new season, I chose to join @chelseafc," he wrote.

"It is a great club, which has just recruited a great coach and want to reach high ambitions I share. The club's project and the coach's speech have convinced me to join this new ambitious adventure.

"I am now waiting to see my new club and give everything for a successful summer... And season of course!!"

Kante is the first big-name player to depart Leicester since their unexpected title triumph, with top-goalscorer Jamie Vardy turning down the chance to join Arsenal and instead signing a new deal with Claudio Ranieri's side.

But reports persist that winger Riyad Mahrez could also soon be on his way out having turned down his own fresh contract offer.

Kante became an instant hit with the Leicester fans and was quick to thank them for their support during what turned out to be an unforgettable year for the former Caen midfielder - who also made his international debut while at Leicester.

"The 2015/2016 past season will remain as an important season for me," he wrote.

"After a fantastic season, It ended with a final of Euro2016. We lost, but we can be proud. The fervour of the French people have given us strength and I wanted to say THANK YOU ALL.

"Of course it has to be appreciated according to the attack that struck in Nice in July 14th and I have at this point a sincere thought for all the victims and their families.

"This season, I also discovered the Premier League with @lcfc. I want to thank the leaders, my teammates and Claudio Ranieri for this fantastic season that saw us winning the title of England.

"Their confidence and also the fan's will forever remain in my memory. And I again thank you all."

Kante is Chelsea's second piece of major transfer business following the acquisition of Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille.

Conte was unveiled to the press on Thursday and is aiming to take Chelsea back into the Champions League after they finished last season in a lowly 10th place.

Press Association

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