Leicester City and France midfielder N'Golo Kante has earned a move to a "big club" amid reports he will join Chelsea this weekend. The 25-year-old played a key role in the Foxes winning the Premier League title but looks set to become the first major exit from Claudio Ranieri's squad.
The Daily Telegraph understands a £29m ($38.5m) offer from the Blues will trigger Kante's departure from the King Power Stadium – with the dynamic midfielder having informed manager Ranieri he wishes to leave this summer. The deal could even be tied up before the club's opening pre-season fixture against Rapid Vienna on Saturday 16 July.
Kante's displays last term saw him nominated for the PFA players' player of the year award, a prize which was eventually won by Leicester teammate Riyad Mahez. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was coy over new additions during his unveiling on Thursday (14 July) but former midfielder Claude Makelele says the player deserves a high profile switch.
"I enjoyed the way I had to play, this position made me happy," he told The Sun. "My men, I wanted to make them happy, the players behind me happy – I didn't need to score, the good things came after.
"This job is very difficult, but I loved it. I don't want N'Golo Kante to be compared with me. Kante can be Kante. I want him to be more than me, but I love to watch him play because you can see in him the joy.
"I love the kind of player like that, who plays for the team. Sometimes you see a team with big players, but for me whenever a team is winning it is because of spirit. He arrived in a good way, now he wants to play in the Champions League. It's another competition, another stress, just like the national team. He needs to get everything from every experience. He still has the same way of playing, the same happiness, but he needs to play in a big team."
Among the struggles Chelsea suffered last term, their midfield failed to dominate games like they had en route to the title in the 2014-15 campaign. Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas both failed to recapture their best form and the addition of Kante would add energy to a key area of the team.
New boss Conte delivered an insight into the strategy for his Chelsea tenure and said that Ranieri's Leicester were now the benchmark in the English top flight. "Leicester City must give us a great example," the Italian said upon his unveiling, according to ESPN. "You can have the best talent, the best champions [players], but you must also have a good spirit in your team, a team with good organisation and good players."