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Chelsea formalize interest in N'Golo Kante after he rejects new Leicester City contract — report

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Ladies and Gentlemen, please keep all hands and feet and tentacles inside the vehicle and hang onto your seats and get those "It's happening!" GIFs ready.  Don't use them just yet, but do get them ready.  This thing's leaving the station and there might be no stopping it.

Chelsea have moved swiftly to open talks over signing midfielder N'Golo Kante [...] Barely 24 hours after Kante's Euro 2016 campaign came to an end with France's final defeat to Portugal, Chelsea formalised their interest in the player in the hope of concluding a deal.

-source: Telegraph

Always a good hope to have any time one deems to formalize interest.

Standing in the way of this hope is a massive offer from Chinese Super League team Shanghai SIPG.  As we heard earlier, the terms of Kante's release clause allow Leicester to only accept the highest bid over £20m received, but according to the report, Chelsea do hope to be able to negotiate a price below the £35m offered by Shanghai.  Leicester have supposedly resigned themselves to let their key midfielder go after he rejected their £100k per-week contract offer (and they signed a potential replacement in Nampalys Mendy).

It's unclear to me why Kante would choose Chelsea over supposed interest from Manchester United, Arsenal, and Juventus — he'd play a key role just the same, possibly get paid just as much, and get to partake in European football, too, but perhaps he's been convinced by the Passion of The Conte.  Whatever the reason, the Telegraph certainly puts Chelsea in the lead in this race, and not for the first time, and that's music to my ears.