According to several reports, including the London Evening Standard, Chelsea's growing frustration in the pursuit of AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has now (finally) caused a shift in focus towards other midfield transfer targets. One of the more likely candidates for our primary target is Leicester City's N'Golo Kanté, whose €24 million release clause has several of Europea's biggest and finest paying attention.
Chelsea had reportedly made a third bid to Roma for Nainggolan, this time in the range of €40 million (with add-ons included), but it was outright refused. Roma are intent on holding onto the 28-year-old, their steadfast aims helped and motivated by the loss of one key midfielder already this summer. Roma could do nothing about Juventus triggering Miralem Pjanic's release clause, but they will do everything to hang on to Nainggolan.
The 25-year-old Kanté has the form, skill-set and even the price tag to put him ahead of the older Belgian international in a head-to-head comparison. His seamless transition from the French Ligue 1 to the Premier League last season is also another factor to consider, given how some players who have grown used to the Serie A have struggled to translate their skills (case in point: Juan Cuadrado).
Latest rumours claim that Kanté is even a target of manager Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, and the Spanish team have been tracking the French international since the turn of the year. To gazump the Galacticos and convince Kanté to move to Stamford Bridge instead of the Santiago Bernabéu would be the ultimate coup by Marina Granovskaia and the rest of the Chelsea Board.