Real Madrid have given up their pursuit of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and will instead look to sign his international teammate N’Golo Kante from Leicester City this summer, according to ABC (via 90min.com)
The midfielder arrived at Leicester City shortly after the appointment of Claudio Ranieri last summer, in a remarkable £5.6 million deal from Caen.
Frenchman Kante earned widespread praise for his performances in the Leicester City midfield last season, having played a key role in the Foxes’ remarkable rise to the top of the Premier League, with Kante’s ball-winning skills vital to the fast, counter-attacking style that has brought an unlikely league title to the King Power Stadium.
It was said that his incredible work rate meant that the Foxes were effectively playing three in central midfield – Danny Drinkwater, plus Kante doing the work of two men.
Kante’s work rate and impressive performances for Leicester earned a call up to the France national team in March, and having been included in their squad for this year’s Euros, the midfielder has further impressed despite France succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Portugal in the final.
Kante clarified earlier this summer no decision on his club future would occur until France had finished participating in Euro 2016, and with the tournament now over it looks likely a transfer battle will erupt, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Shanghai SIPG all thought to be interested in acquiring the midfielder this summer, according to the Mirror.
Leicester will be keen to retain the 25-year-old, as they look to mount a title defence and compete in the Champions League this upcoming season. However, the in-demand midfielder is thought to have a release clause around the £20 million mark, making him an easily affordable option for most of Europe’s largest clubs.
With Zinedine Zidane keen to strengthen his defensive midfield options, Kante may be the ideal option, particularly given he would cost a fraction of the fee being mooted for Pogba, with Juventus believed to want £100 million for the former Manchester United midfielder.
The suggestion that Real have pulled out of the transfer race for Pogba is sure to be encouraging for Manchester United fans, who would love to see the midfielder return to Old Trafford this summer.
Steven Parkhill, Pundit Arena