Chelsea step up N'Golo Kante pursuit with £29m bid for Leicester midfielder
Chelsea have made a £29 million bid for Leicester’s France international midfielder, N’Golo Kanté, and want to push the deal forward this weekend.
Antonio Conte, the new Chelsea manager, has made his move for the player, with a formal offer being considered by the Premier League champions.
Leicester’s hierarchy were discussing Chelsea’s bid in Austria on Wednesday night yet remain hopeful of persuading the 25-year-old to stay for at least another season.
Kanté has already turned down one contract proposal since the end of last season but Leicester are prepared to make another improved offer in a bid to keep him at the King Power Stadium. The new offer will make him the club’s best-paid player and is expected to be worth over £100,000 a week.
Chelsea, however, are hopeful of receiving a positive answer to their bid over the weekend and are keen to have Kanté on board before they fly to the United States for their pre-season tour.
Their bid to sign him is also complicated by interest from Chinese club Shanghai SIPG, while Leicester have adopted an aggressive stance on keeping a player they signed from Caen for £5.6m last year.
Conte will be officially unveiled at Stamford Bridge today and is stepping up his bid to make squad reinforcements after only signing striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille so far this summer.
Leicester, meanwhile, are poised to make a third and final offer of £15 million for Burnley captain Michael Keane in the next few days.
Burnley are demanding £20 million for the England under-21 international but Leicester believe an offer of £15 million could be enough as they believe Keane wants to join them.
Claudio Ranieri, the manager, completed his first anniversary in charge yesterday and Leicester insist there is no panic over a delay in contract negotiations.
Ranieri is in line for a vastly improved deal after guiding Leicester to the Premier League title yet it is understood there have been no talks for over a month.
Leicester held initial discussions at the end of last season but are yet to make the 64-year-old a formal offer, raising the prospect of a rival club taking him for a minimal fee due to a get-out clause in his existing deal.
But Ranieri is said to be relaxed about the situation and Leicester are expected to resume negotiations before the start of the season.