Chelsea: £203m England duo ‘on the radar’ to replace Kante at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter reacts during Salzburg game

Chelsea have Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice ‘on the radar’ as they eye up N’Golo Kante’s long-term heir, according to journalist Dean Jones.

The England duo have been linked with move to Stamford Bridge in recent months after putting in a string of impressive displays for their current clubs Borussia Dortmund and West Ham United, respectively.

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New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly oversaw a huge summer of spending during his first transfer window at the helm, but the only central midfielder to arrive was Dennis Zakaria on a season-long loan deal.

And it’s a position that may need addressing imminently as both Jorginho and Kante have entered the final year of their current contracts.

The Athletic have reported that Kante has asked for a three-year deal with the option to extend his stay by a further 12 months, while the Chelsea hierarchy have recently offered two years with a one-year option.

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Only time will tell if the two parties are able to reach an agreement, but it seems as though the west London outfit have already identified his potential successors.

James Pearce of The Athletic disclosed that Chelsea are among Bellingham’s list of suitors while Sky Sports have claimed that they are also interested in prising Rice away from the London Stadium.

What has Jones said about Chelsea?

Jones has informed GiveMeSport that Chelsea are ‘already looking’ for Kante’s replacement and that both Bellingham, who has a £103 million price tag, and Rice, who could cost around £100m, are players that have been discussed at the capital club.

He said: “We know Chelsea are already looking for his successor. We know that Jude Bellingham’s on the radar, Declan Rice is on the radar.

“Other people are now going to be on the radar because we’ve got new figures coming into the club.”

How big a loss would Kante be?

Kante has been a key figure for Chelsea since arriving from Leicester City back in 2016, registering 13 goals and 15 assists in 262 appearances across all competitions.

The France international has collected one Champions League crown, one Premier League title, one FA Cup, one League Cup, one Europa League, one FIFA Club World Cup and one UEFA Super Cup along the way.

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However, Kante has suffered from several injury issues over the last couple of campaigns, in particular, missing 31 games since the beginning of 2020/21 due to fitness concerns.

It’s understandable, therefore, why Chelsea may be reluctant to hand Kante a new long-term deal, but his presence in the middle of the park would surely be sorely missed.

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