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Could PSG hijack Barcelona’s move for N’Golo Kanté?

Barcelona are in pole position to sign Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kanté, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Update:
Barcelona are in pole position to sign Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kanté, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
James ChanceGetty Images

Barcelona are confident of adding Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante to their ranks for the 2023-24 campaign but are becoming increasingly concerned about Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in the player, according to Catalan newspaper Sport.

The Frenchman, who won the World Cup with his country in 2018, will be out of contract at Stamford Bridge at the end of June and is thought to be keen on making the move to Catalonia. Barça, who have been dealing with well-documented financial issues in recent times, were rumoured to be interested in the player last summer but opted to spend the money they were able to generate on other targets instead. However, the prospect of picking up a top-class operator such as Kanté for free is too good an opportunity for them to pass up and Sport report that the two parties have already been in discussions for several weeks, with a view to the club offering him a contract in January.

N’Golo Kante missed the Qatar 2022 World Cup due to injury

Much could depend, however, on how the former Leicester City man returns from a hamstring injury which required surgery in October, causing him to miss the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Kanté is due to be back in action in January and coach Xavi Hernández is keen to see that he is back to peak fitness before pressing ahead with offering him a deal, especially considering that the Frenchman’s physicality and stamina are two of the key facets of his game.

With Pedri and Gavi still in their teens and veteran Sergio Busquets rumoured to be moving on, Xavi is looking for an experienced player to slot straight into the Barcelona midfield and Kanté fits the bill.

PSG could hijack Barcelona’s move for N’Golo Kanté

However, Barcelona are thought to be increasingly worried that Paris Saint-Germain could hijack any potential move for Kanté. The two clubs have endured a tense relationship since Neymar left Camp Nou for the French capital in 2017 and some at the Catalan club believe PSG’s ‘interest’ is simply to drive the price of the player up, either forcing Barça to make a bid for Kanté in January or offer him a better contract for next season.

Given that Kanté is on ‘Premier League wages’ at one of England’s biggest clubs, he would have to take a wage cut to join Barcelona, who would likely offer him a lower base salary with performance-related bonuses, which has become the club’s contract model.