Chelsea Transfer News: Latest Rumours, Signings Linked to Antonio Conte's Blues

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2016

Leicester’s Ngolo Kante during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and West Ham United at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, April 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante ahead of the 2016/17 Premier League season.

That’s according to Matt Law of Daily Telegraph, who wrote that the France midfielder is set to ignore interest from Manchester United and Arsenal to join up with Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.

The likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez stole the headlines for Leicester City during their remarkable surge to the Premier League title last season, but Kante was the definition of an unsung hero.

Setting up and scoring goals isn’t what the 25-year-old is on the pitch for. Instead, he strives to regain possession for his team and give other players the chance to shine.

And it’s safe to say he did it brilliantly during his debut campaign in the English top flight. Here’s a reminder of the Kante’s sterling work for Leicester:

It’s little wonder the Frenchman has been compared to a certain Claude Makelele, who essentially invented the role from which Kante has made a name.

Chelsea have struggled to replace Makelele since he left the club in 2008, but in Kante, they could finally have their man.

It seems he’s keen on heading to the English capital too, as Law said the midfielder is set to snub a new deal at the King Power Stadium worth £100,000 per week.

Kante’s contract has a £20 million release clause inserted in it, yet the Foxes are reportedly only required to accept the highest offer over that figure.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

So Conte needs to lay his cards on the table sooner rather than later, as a bidding war with other clubs could see the Frenchman’s value rise to well over £30 million.

Elsewhere, the Blues have started negotiating terms with AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez, per Simon Jones of MailOnline.

Chelsea are looking for a new understudy to Thibaut Courtois, with Asmir Begovic expected to head for the Stamford Bridge exit, and Lopez looks the ideal candidate for the job.

Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Jones wrote that Chelsea have offered the 34-year-old a three-year deal and that Milan are keen to offload the stopper to cut their wage bill.

Chelsea’s dire display in the 2015/16 Premier League season is much behind them, and it’s an exciting time to be a Blue.

New manager Conte has proved his tactical prowess at UEFA Euro 2016 with Italy, while links to big-name players will boost fans’ hopes for next term.

Chelsea have always had a problem with strength in depth, but with the likes of Kante and Lopez possibly joining the ranks, those issues could become a thing of the past.

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