N’Golo Kante is a Chelsea legend but his future has been in doubt as talks over a contract extension have dragged on – but Fabrizio Romano has confirmed a huge twist in proceedings that Chelsea fans need to hear.
Kante’s current deal with Chelsea expires in the summer, leaving other clubs the chance to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the player from January 1.
The France international’s current contract situation has sparked interest from France and Spain in particular, with Barcelona the latest club rumoured to be nearing a proposal to sign the 31-year-old on a free in the summer.
A hamstring injury – which could keep Kante out until March – offered another stumbling block to negotiations, although this is not thought to be a factor in whether Chelsea will retain the midfielder or not.
Issues still remain over the length of contract, though, with Chelsea’s two-year proposal, plus the option of a third, rejected by Kante back in September. He is said to favour longer-term security.
For their part, Chelsea have always wanted the 2018 World Cup winner to stay, viewing him as a legend and an extremely popular figure at the club.
And Romano has provided an update that will surely bring a smile to the face of Chelsea supporters.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the Italian journalist said: “The situation was very complicated in October, November and December, with negotiations between Chelsea and Kante proving difficult.
“The plan of Chelsea was to sign young midfielders but Kante would love to stay at Chelsea. He loves the club and he loves the city. He loves the fans and has a good relationship with his team-mates.
“The focus is on coming back from his injury but his last conversations with his agents have been positive. Kante is prepared to accept different kind of terms to stay at Chelsea.
“So, a few months ago, it was complicated and the feeling was Kante would leave Chelsea on a free transfer. Now, it’s 50:50 between Kante and Chelsea and there is a greater chance he will stay.
“The negotiations are different now, with a different kind of feeling.”