Manchester City are in advanced talks to sign Leicester City star N'Golo Kante after Pep Guardiola personally requested his arrival, L'Equipe has reported.
The reliable Parisian publication has published an extensive report on the future of the French midfielder, who has captured the imagination in his homeland just as much as he has in the Premier League.
A stellar season for the Foxes saw Kante named in the PFA Team of the Year and he has naturally attracted interest from some of the so-called elite clubs.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Article continues below
But while the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked, it appears Manchester City are the only club serious about signing him. Officials from the Etihad entered a second round of talks with Kante's representatives on Thursday, which are believed to have gone well.
While it seems a deal is still some way off, there is a suggestion from L'Equipe that a deal could be done before he joins up with the France squad for Euro 2016. That would make him one of the first signings of Guardiola's era.
The Spaniard was widely expected to sign Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan, but a dislocated knee cap saw the midfielder ruled out for at least the next six months.
Needless to say, that put an end to Guardiola's interest. However, Kante is seen as a worthy alternative as the Bayern Munich boss prepares to invigorate the City squad with fresh talent.
City are expected to undergo wholesale changes once Manuel Pellegrini departs and Kante is seen as a key cog in what promises to be a busy summer.
However, the report also claims that Kante, 25, would actually prefer to move to London where he may have the option to join either Arsenal or Chelsea.
Arsene Wenger is believed to hold a strong interest in his compatriot but recent reports seem to suggest he will opt for the more expensive and lesser known Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka.
Chelsea may need a new midfielder if Nemanja Matic leaves but they will not be able to offer Kante any kind of European football next season.
Tipped to leave
Of the three major stars to emerge at Leicester this season – Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy – it is Kante who looks most likely to leave. The midfielder has already suggested he would be tempted if a big club comes in for him while Claudio Ranieri says he will be open to sizeable offers.
"I think he should rest [stay] here, he's working very well," Ranieri said last month. "But if big teams arrive that will give us a lot of money, maybe we can think about it if he's not happy here and wants to go. I don't want sad people here - I want my players to be happy."