Claudio Ranieri has revealed that he would understand if N’Golo Kante wanted to leave Leicester this summer, but is unyielding in his belief that Riyad Mahrez will not exit the club.
Kante joined the Foxes for £5.6m from Caen last summer and was arguably one of the Premier League’s best players, attracting attention from Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Real Madrid, and Ranieri admitted that he would not oppose a potential exit for Kante.
Speaking to the Leicester Mercury regarding Kante’s future, Ranieri was refreshingly honest as ever.
“I don’t know. I know one thing, we have offered a new deal of a contract to him.
He wanted to wait because he wanted to finish Euro 2016. Now I hear there is so much speculation behind him.
“I don’t want to lose him. I don’t want to, but I could understand if he wants to go.
“At this point, I hope the team bring the maximum. I don’t know about the money, I am not a manager, just a coach, so I don’t speak about money. I say what I feel, I want him here.”
Arsenal and Chelsea have both been heavily linked with the midfielder, with the latter in more need of the Frenchman.
Antonio Conte’s side have seemingly missed out on a trio of targets this summer in the shape of Roma’s Radja Nainggolan, Zenit’s Axel Witsel and Valencia’s Andre Gomes and Kante may be the perfect fit for the London club.
Meanwhile, Ranieri has also spoken on the future of Riyad Mahrez and remains confident that the Algerian wide man will remain with the Premier League champions.
“I am very confident with him,” said Ranieri. “He stays.
“He wants to stay here with us. He enjoys it, he is laughing. He is not a man who says ‘oh coach, I want to go.’ No, he is happy.”
Leicester have signed Nampalys Mendy from Nice so Kante’s departure would not necessarily rock the club.
However, the Foxes have also recruited Ahmed Musa for a club record £16m and have persuaded Jamie Vardy to stay so Ranieri will hope that Mahrez will continue to be one of the club’s instrumental players.