Liverpool see free summer deal disappear with Kante close to agreement
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Liverpool will not be able to take the advice of former player Glen Johnson at the end of the season by signing N’Golo Kante as he is set to pen a contract extension with Chelsea. The midfielder was expected to become a free agent over the summer before talks reignited.
Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his midfield ranks at the end of the season, with his side’s performances so far this campaign indicating that he lacks strength and quality in that department.
Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham and Brighton prospect Moises Caicedo have both been linked with a move to Anfield, though Johnson had urged his former side to consider a move for Kante when he looked likely to leave Chelsea.
Though The Telegraph report that the 31-year-old is now close to penning a contract extension with the Blues and all parties are confident that an agreement will be reached. Kante is yet to feature under Graham Potter following several injury setbacks but is now back in first-team training and could return in the coming weeks.
Johnson felt that the former Leicester City star was the ideal player to slot into Klopp’s midfield, telling Betfair: “If N’Golo Kanté is available on a free transfer, then that’s something you need to consider seriously.
“The guy wears his heart on his sleeve and he has the energy to perform how Jürgen Klopp expects his players to perform. If Liverpool can sign him on a free then blimey, you need to put your hat in the ring.”
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Chelsea are also looking into how they can strengthen their options in the centre of the park, and losing a player of Kante’s quality for free was deemed a poor decision. The Blues brought in Enzo Fernandez for a club-record fee from Benfica on deadline day in January, whilst also being in the race for Bellingham and Caicedo with Liverpool.
Despite Kante being unattainable for the Reds, they could still find joy in targeting players from Stamford Bridge. Klopp is a long-term admirer of playmaker Mason Mount, who could be offloaded at the end of the season after contract extension talks with the England international stalled once more recently. Mount is out of contract in 2024 but the new Chelsea owners are reluctant to allow players to enter the final 12 months of their contracts and have their heads turned by the prospect of bumper deals elsewhere.
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