Manchester United are interested in signing N’Golo Kante from Chelsea. Kante’s contract expires next year and United, who are desperate to strengthen their midfield after underperforming last season, are keen to see if the French international can be sold this summer.
At the moment it seems unlikely that Chelsea would be willing to sell. Kante was a crucial player for Thomas Tuchel and while there are concerns over the 31-year-old’s injury, he remains one of the best players in the Premier League if he is 100% fit. He was outstanding when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021 and the club’s new owners had to think long and hard before deciding to sell to United.
Tuchel has made no secret of working with a fully fit Kanté. Likewise, the manager has suggested he is frustrated with the former Leicester player’s struggle to put together a series of games. “I think he is our key, key, key player; but key, key, key players have to be on the pitch,” Tuchel said this month. “He only plays 40% of the games. So maybe it’s a miracle that we ended up in third place.
“Because he is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] van Dijk, he’s our [Kevin] debruyne. He’s our Neymar, he’s our Kylian Mbappe; he is the man who makes the difference. And if you only have 40% of it, that’s a huge problem.”
Kante’s troubles can be traced back to the time when he played through a knee injury and helped Chelsea beat Arsenal in the Europa League final three years ago. The competition underlined his importance, but his involvement has come at a price.
Chelsea have had to play without Kante many times since then and his contract situation means they can make a decision if United make a suitable offer. United are rebuilding under Erik ten Hag and Kante, who won the title with Chelsea and Leicester, would improve their midfield. Ten Hag is also interested in Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and West Ham’s Declan Rice, which will probably be too expensive.
Chelsea are planning a rebuild and would like to have a dominant midfielder. However, it is expected that they would rather make room by selling Jorginho rather than Kante. Jorginho also has a one-year contract and he is wanted by Juventus.
Tuchel is expected to find space in midfield for Conor Gallagher following the youngster’s impressive loan from Crystal Palace. He too is interested in Rice. Chelsea have trailed behind Liverpool and Real Madrid in the race to sign Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouameni.