Inter Milan are considering a summer move for N’Golo Kante after Chelsea have softened their stance on the midfielder and are now willing to listen to offers for him.
Kante had previously been considered as unavailable for transfer, but an underwhelming season under Frank Lampard has seen that situation change.
Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport report that Kante’s injuries and a change in set-up under Lampard have seen the Frenchman lose his status as a key part of the squad and Inter boss Antonio Conte wants to swoop for his services.
Conte was in charge of Kante during his spell at Stamford Bridge and remains a big fan of his work after the pair won the Premier League together with Chelsea
The 29-year-old may not be untouchable at Chelsea anymore, but he remains under contract until 2023 and would still be an extremely expensive purchase for the Serie A side.
The World Cup winner would also warrant astronomical wages to move to Milan, with his current contract at Chelsea reportedly worth £290,000-a-week.
Kante has started 20 Premier League games this season, including four since the restart of the Premier League, so he has not been cast off by Lampard.
The manager has spoken about having Kante in his plans for next season, and how he plans to handle the injury problems he has suffered this season, with a hamstring issue the latest concern for him.
“We will see how we are pre-season,’ Lampard said on Friday. ‘I am happy to look at managing a player like him, with the level he has reached in previous years in his career.
‘That will be a very open conversation between myself and N’Golo and our strength and conditioning coach and our medical team.
‘The big issue this season was that he came to pre-season injured and missed a massive part of the season.
‘We tried to quickly get him fit for the Super Cup and he was incredible in his performance [against Liverpool] but he was still struggling.
That has been a domino effect for him. It’s time to take stock in this period.
‘The injury he has got now is not really related to the serious nature of the knee injury he had coming into the season. ‘It’s a small injury which is probably more down to the games played and the lack of pre-season.’