REAL MADRID

Real Madrid boss Zidane wants the new Makélélé: Kanté

Mindful of the need to bolster his defensive midfield options, Real's coach has asked the club to explore the possibility of signing his compatriot.

Zidane quiere para su Real Madrid al nuevo Makelele: Kanté

Real Madrid's efforts to strengthen their squad for the coming season continue apace. France and Juventus ace Paul Pogba remains the star signing Los Merengues crave, but the club have also set to work to satisfy head coach Zinedine Zidane's request for a player in the Claude Makélélé mould.

And the man Zidane particularly likes is N'Golo Kanté, one of the revelations of last term's Premier League as part of Leicester City's incredible title-winning team.

Kanté played a key role in Leicester City's Premier League title win last season.

More options needed in Casemiro's role

Zidane is very happy with holding midfielder Casemiro, who has become a key cog in the Frenchman's system; however, he is worried at the paucity of other options in the position should the Brazilian pick up an injury or a suspension.

Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco and Mateo Kovacic are ill-suited to fulfilling such a specialist role, while Lucas Silva - who isn't in Zidane's future plans - doesn't fit the bill either.

Los Blancos' boss is acutely aware of the importance of a Makélélé-type figure in defensive midfield. The one-time Chelsea man was not only a close friend of his at Real Madrid and in the France set-up; he was also the shield whose tireless, selfless graft brought balance to the Real side featuring 'Zizou', Figo, Ronaldo and Raúl.

That's why Zidane is insistent upon the need to add a further midfield workhorse to his squad. And there are factors that appear to work in favour of such a move.

Makélélé (above) and Zidane played together at Real.

Affordable buy-out clause

Firstly, Kanté would arrive at the Bernabéu with the blessing of Makélélé himself, who noted recently: "I see myself in N'Golo when I watch him play." What's more, his Leicester contract contains an affordable release clause of 25 million euros.

And, according to the Sunday People, the buy-out clause hands Real an advantage over Premier League-based competition: the newspaper claims that the small print in the France international's deal may mean it can only be activated by clubs outside of England.

Meanwhile, the Champions League winners would be in a position to offer the 25-year-old tempting personal terms. With his current Foxes salary standing at 1.7 million euros net per year, there is plenty of margin for Madrid to considerably up his pay packet.

Kanté (left) is currently on Euro 2016 duty with France.