Arsenal have been handed encouragement in their pursuit of N'Golo Kante after manager Claudio Ranieri admitted that he could be allowed to leave Leicester City this summer for the right price. The industrious 25-year-old has proved hugely influential since joining from Ligue 1 outfit Caen in a £5.6m ($7.9m) deal back in August 2015, outshining many of the Premier League's more established midfielders and forming an impressive partnership with Danny Drinkwater.
That pairing has been pivotal to Leicester's staggering transformation from relegation candidates to title favourites, with both players recently recognised with their first senior international call-ups. While Drinkwater won man of the match honours for England during a defeat to the Netherlands, Kante made his France debut in a win over the same opposition before scoring only his second goal of the season in a 4-2 defeat of Russia in Paris.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has long been aware of his compatriot's talents, claiming last month that the club had watched him during his formative years. The Daily Telegraph reported in February that he was again being scouted along with the likes of Southampton's Victor Wanyama and Sporting CP midfielder William Carvalho as the Gunners prepare to invest as much as £75m on a new spine.
Kante responded to such speculation by insisting that he was focused on Leicester for now, but stopped short of committing his future to the Foxes for the long-term and did not mind being linked to other suitors. Ranieri was further quizzed about the former Boulogne man's future at a pre-match press conference held prior to Leicester's home clash with Southampton on 3 April, and he appeared realistic as to the possibility of losing a key performer.
"He is working very well," the Italian was quoted as saying by Press Association Sport. "But if some big teams arrive who give us a lot of big money, maybe we can think about it. If he is not happy here and wants to go. I don't want sad people here. I want happy people. He is always smiling. It is speculation and now our focus is on the pitch. After is another season."
Elsewhere for Arsenal, Wojciech Szczesny has hinted that he could extend his stay at Roma. The goalkeeper moved to the Stadio Olimpico on a year-long loan last summer following the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea and has since made 34 appearances in all competitions for a Giallorossi side who have been much improved since Luciano Spalletti succeeded Rudi Garcia in January.
"Will I stay at Roma? For me, football always comes first," he told Roma Radio. "I have the confidence of everyone here. When you have the trust of your teammates, the coach and the fans, as well as playing every Sunday, then that can only be for the best. Obviously it's not just thanks to me, but everyone who has helped me."