Tottenham boss Conte ‘likes Kante a lot’ and eyes Barcelona battle

Spurs in ‘different world’ without ‘indispensable’ Conte – assistant Stellini

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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte is reportedly a big fan of Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and he could lead Spurs into a transfer battle for the Frenchman next summer. The Lilywhites may have to fend off rival interest from Barcelona, however, with Kante approaching the end of his contract at Stamford Bridge. 

Kante was snapped up by Conte in 2016 after winning an unlikely Premier League title with Leicester City. Player and manager formed a fruitful partnership at Chelsea as the midfielder made it back-to-back triumphs in Conte’s first season at the helm. 

Now six years into his Blues stint, Kante has been a fantastic servant but current boss Graham Potter faces a tricky situation with his contract expiring next summer. Although he is now on the wrong side of his 30th birthday, top clubs are sure to keep an eye on developments surrounding Kante who, when fit, is still as tireless and combative as ever. 

According to Relevo, Kante is a player that Spurs boss Conte ‘likes a lot’ and the Italian could rival Barca for a sought-after free transfer opportunity in 2023. 

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Although Tottenham have Conte, which should give them extra pulling power compared to Barcelona, La Blaugrana have a distinct advantage of their own. Foreign clubs are at liberty to negotiate pre-contract arrangements with players entering the final six months of their deals. 

Kante will fall into that category when the transfer window swings open on January 1, meaning Spurs would be forced to watch on helplessly if Barca manage to lay a tempting offer on the table. The 31-year-old has played in Ligue 1 and the Premier League, not to mention lifting the World Cup with France, but he has never ventured to La Liga. 

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Spurs already have an established midfield duo in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur, with the likes of Oliver Skipp and Yves Bissouma waiting in the wings to take their places. But Conte has developed a reputation as a manager capable of bringing instant success, not least by recruiting experienced players with a track record of winning trophies. 

Kante has an FA Cup, two Premier League titles, a World Cup and a Champions League on his CV, among other things. Affording his wages may be a tough one for Spurs but acquiring a player of such pedigree for free is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often. 

Although Chelsea may not let go of the energetic midfielder without a fight, Potter does have a crop of exciting young candidates to step in. Carney Chukwuemeka, Conor Gallagher and Cesare Casadei are all pushing for more involvement in the first team. 

Kante has been unable to contribute on the pitch of late due to undergoing surgery on a hamstring issue. That’s set to keep him out of action until February next year, preventing him from turning out at the World Cup this month. 

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