Barcelona are likely to be pursuing free transfers next summer and it appears they will have an open shot at Ngolo Kante.
Last summer the Blaugrana were keen to make away with two Chelsea players in Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, only one of which they managed successfully, although both had a year left on their deals. The Blues were keen to retain Azpilicueta though, managing to persuade Azpilicueta to stay.
Their intervention should be no such problem in this case, instead Barcelona will only need to beat out the competition. Chelsea are content to see Kante leave the club this summer, following a summer and winter of heavy recruitment. They no longer see him as necessary and are unlikely to offer him a new deal.
The Blaugrana have been monitoring Kante for some time as a potential alternative to Sergio Busquets, should the veteran decide to leave when his deal expires. According to Sport, he is well-regarded in Can Barca, but there are doubts about his fitness.
Now 31, Kante’s influence is not what it was, and he has been missing since the beginning of the season with a hamstring issue. Until they see evidence that Kante is fully recovered (he is due to return to action in February), they will not commit to a pursuit.
Should Busquets leave, Kante would represent a major departure from the current captain in terms of style. Busquets is renowned for his ability building the play from deep, something Kante does not have in his locker. Equally, it would theoretically provide Barcelona with better cover for counter-attacks.