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Spurs: Antonio Conte handed boost in N’Golo Kante pursuit

Tottenham Hotspur have been handed a boost in their bid to bring N’Golo Kante to north London next summer.

What’s the talk?

That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, with the Italian transfer insider revealing in a recent video posted on his YouTube channel that, unless Chelsea manager Graham Potter suddenly decides he wants to keep the midfielder beyond the end of the current campaign, the 31-year-old will leave Stamford Bridge on a free transfer at the end of the season.

This is sure to come as a huge boost to Antonio Conte, with reports earlier this year suggesting that Spurs are a possible destination for the player – something that would appear much more likely following Romano’s latest update on the France international’s contract situation.

Regarding the future of Kante, the journalist said: “The only way for Kante to stay at Chelsea is if Graham Potter will decide to keep him. But, as of now, the financial agreement is not in place between Chelsea and Kante.

“An important point to mention is N’Golo Kante would love to stay at Chelsea. He loves London, he loves the club and he loves the fans. He has a great relationship with all his teammates. So Kante would love to stay at the club.

“But the reality is that, at the moment, there is still no agreement between the two parties. And this is why the expectation of those close to the player’s side and the club’s side is for N’Golo Kante to leave on a free. Big opportunity for many clubs.”

“One of the best”

While it is true that a spate of injuries over the last two seasons have seen Kante’s game time at Chelsea severely limited, it is undeniable that, when fully fit and firing, there are few midfielders in world football who can perform to the level of the 31-year-old in the middle of the park.

This is evident from Kante’s 35 Premier League outings in Conte’s title-winning Chelsea side back in 2016/17, when the £32m signing made an average of 3.6 tackles – the third-most in the division – 2.3 interceptions – the 14th-most in the league – 1.2 clearances and won 5.6 duels – at a success rate of 52% – per game.

The £290k-per-week talent also impressed going forwards, scoring one goal, registering one assist and creating one big chance for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 0.8 shots, making 0.7 key passes and completing one dribble – at a success rate of 73% – per match.

These returns saw the player who Abbie McCarthy dubbed “unreal” average a simply sensational Sofascore match rating of 7.19, not only ranking him as Conte’s sixth-best performer in the league but also as the joint 32nd-best player in the top flight of English football as a whole that year.

It was performances such as this that saw the Tottenham manager label the midfielder “one of the best” players he has ever coached in an interview with Sky Sports back in May 2020, with the 53-year-old stating of the Frenchman:

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“In my opinion, he can play in every position in midfield. We are talking about an amazing player, a top player. He is amazing with and without the ball. When you have N’Golo in your team, you can think you are playing with one player more. He is one of the best players I have had in my career as a coach.”

As such, should Fabio Paratici manage to convince Kante of a move across London to Tottenham at the end of the current campaign, not only would the midfielder’s signing represent an unreal coup on a free transfer, but it would also see Conte reunited with one of his favourite players in the game – something that would only be a positive for the club.