N'Golo Kante to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger talks up 'incredible quality' of Leicester player to fuel transfer talk
Kante is preparing for Euro 2016 with France following his impeccable season that helped Leicester become the most unfancied Premier League title winners in history.
The 25-year-old has a £20m release clause that is almost certain to be triggered this summer, and judging by Wenger’s assessment, Arsenal could be among those to do so.
“I admire and like N’Golo Kante a lot. It gives you ideas,” he told beIN Sports. “He gives you the feeling that the higher the level he plays at, the more at ease he is.
“We are talking about numbers. He has the most interceptions in Europe and by far.
“He has incredible quality. He feels the game, only very few people can do that. He’s always where he needs to be.
“It is very rare to have that in the central midfielder. Not always orthodox, but always in the right place.”
Kante, who joined Leicester from Caen just last summer, has refused to be drawn on speculation except to say he won’t make a decision until at least after Euro 2016.
“I am a Leicester player,” he said recently. “For now, I have not taken a decision even if I have been made offers.
“It will be great to play in the Champions League. I will decide my future after the Euros.”
Euro 2016 transfer targets: Who could catch the eye in France
David Alaba (Austria)
Real Madrid are said to have a £38m bid turned down for the Austrian and has been linked with a move to Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester City. The latter could be a more likely destination for the productive defender, with incoming coach Pep Guardiola all too aware of his qualities from their time at Bayern. Will have a big role to play for an Austria side in a favourable group.
Michy Batshuayi (Belgium)
Exciting prospect, still relatively unknown on English shores, has been subject of interest from West Ham and Tottenham. Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino has spoken of the ‘talent’ and ‘good potential’ of the quick, strong forward, who is likely to play a bit part role in a Belgium side not short of attacking talent. Could prove a deadly Plan B option for Marc Wilmots.
Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey)
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder ended the campaign in fine form in the Bundesliga and provides a major threat from dead-balls for a talented Turkish team. At home on the wing or in the middle, the 22-year-old has been linked with West Ham and Tottenham and scored against England in last month’s friendly at the Etihad.
Breel Embolo (Switzerland)
Affable Cameroon-born forward has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Tottenham after an impressive first 15 months with Basle. Explosive pace is allied with a strong shot for a forward who models his game on Mario Balotelli and will hope to help his side qualify from Group A alongside hosts France.
Antoine Griezmann (France)
French forward could cap breakthrough season with move to the Premier League, with both Chelsea and Manchester United interested as they look forward to new campaigns under new leaders. Ended campaign on a sour note with Champions League final penalty miss, but set for major role for the home favourites.
John Guidetti (Sweden)
Because Sweden are not just about Zlatan. The popular forward never fully impressed at Manchester City but has found his feet at Celta Vigo after impressing at Feyenoord and Celtic. Scored impressive goal in helping knock Atletico Madrid out of Spanish Cup and has interested Swansea in recent months.
Hannes Halldorsson (Iceland)
A former film director, the Icelandic keeper impressed in qualifying, keeping six clean sheets as Iceland reached their first major tournament finals, finishing above Turkey and the Netherlands. Currently at Dutch side NEC, the 32-year-old could finally earn a big-name move should he continue his upward international trajectory.
Marek Hamsik (Slovakia)
Long linked with Liverpool, the flamboyant Slovakian has insisted he is happy at Napoli but is likely to cause England and Wales problems and will once again catch the eye. Impressed in qualifying as Slovakia made their first ever European Championship and the attacking midfielder could be ready for a new challenge after nine years in Italy.
Elseid Hysaj (Albania)
Albanian right-back caught the eye at Empoli and made move to Napoli last summer and helped side finish runners-up in Serie A last season. Can also fill in at left-back and pace helps him track back when caught upfield. Holds record as Albania’s youngest-ever captain and second-most expensive Albanian of all-time. Linked with Atletico and Real Madrid, as well as Chelsea.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
Swede’s announcement that he was to leave PSG sparked a media feeding frenzy and Manchester United appears the perfect fit, linking up with a manager he played with at Internazionale. Talismanic forward is ready for one-last payday and could make a mark in the finals in a tough group up against Belgium, Italy and Ireland.
Ciro Immobile (Italy)
Sunderland were said to be interested in the Italian forward in the January transfer window and the Italian could again garner attention should he be given the nod up front. Has struggled to settle at Borussia Dortmund, being sent out on loan twice, but his hard-working, energetic style could suit a Premier League side after the finals.
Bartosz Kapustka (Poland)
Central midfielder of whom Poland expect big things from. A skilful , forward-thinking midfielder for Cracovia who can play on the left or in the middle, has been linked with Southampton and Borussia Dortmund. Has already scored twice in his four caps for Poland, and is still only 19 – fifth youngest at the finals.
Alvaro Morata (Spain)
Strongly linked in recent weeks with an Arsenal side crying out for a prolific out-and-out forward, the hard-working forward has been likened to Fernando Morientes. The bigger the stage, the better the Juventus forward seems to perform and, with no one striker making a case to be Spain’s main man, could find a stage to shine on in a group that could have been harder for the holders.
Paul Pogba (France)
Former Manchester United forward could be tempted by a return to Old Trafford to link up with Jose Mourinho, who could do with some star quality. Likely to be one of the stars of the tournament on home soil, the flamboyant 23-year-old has won pretty much all he can with Juventus and could welcome a challenge.
Leroy Sane (Germany)
German right-winger is likely to catch the eye for his wild hair if nothing else. An pacy, skilful elegant winger with a strong shot, the 20-year-old has been linked with Liverpool, Barcelona and both Manchester clubs but may have to be content with a place on the bench for the world champions, having won just two caps so far.
Samuel Umtiti (France)
Lyon defender linked with Tottenham and coach Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed his interest. Spurs took a while last season before deciding on their first choice full-backs, and the versatile Umtiti, who has also been linked with West Ham, could add to a squad gearing up for Champions League push.
Andrei Yarmolenko (Ukraine)
The star winger-forward in a Ukraine side lacking quality, averaging almost a goal a game for the national side. Linked in past years with Everton, Liverpool and Milan, the winger could shine in a group also containing a struggling German side and an inexperienced Northern Ireland outfit.
Arsenal have already triggered a release clause for Kante’s Leicester team-mate Jamie Vardy.