Chelsea chief Boehly risks wrath of Pochettino as ‘Barcelona offer’ emerges

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Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly risks angering incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino unless he ties N’Golo Kante down to a new contract before the summer transfer window opens. The Frenchman has reportedly been offered to Barcelona over the past few weeks, which could break up Pochettino’s ideal midfield contingent ahead of next season.

Kante has kept Blues fans in suspense over his plans for the future. The 32-year-old has been a mainstay at Stamford Bridge since 2016, but having allowed his contract to wind down, he can leave as a free agent this summer.

A bottom-half Premier League finish and a failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League are hardly positive signs for Kante to stay in west London. And that’s without factoring in the calibre of proposals he has on the table.

According to transfer insider Gerard Romero, Kante has been ‘offered’ to Barca in recent weeks. The Chelsea star would be an ideal acquisition for Xavi’s side as they are expected to be working on a tight budget in the transfer market.

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The pressure on Boehly has therefore ramped up, with time running out before Kante can leave without Chelsea recouping a penny. The former Leicester City ace has been plagued by injury this season, with a hamstring issue keeping him sidelined for six months.

But according to The Telegraph, Pochettino has ‘respect’ for the player as he puts together plans for his arrival at Stamford Bridge. Senior figures at the Blues reportedly hope that the Argentine’s appointment will sway Kante to stay put.

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And the former Tottenham boss’ admiration for the two-time Premier League winner will make his possible departure all the more painful. Boehly is tasked with trimming what has become a bloated squad this summer, although Kante is not necessarily a player the club are keen to shift off the wage bill.

The French international’s energy and tenacity in the middle of the park make him a valuable asset to any side when fit. The likes of Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher are also linked to exits.

Kovacic reportedly has admirers at Manchester City, while Blues academy product Mount is poised to spark a bidding war between Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Red Devils believed to be in pole position.

Loftus-Cheek, meanwhile, has supposedly piqued the interest of Italian giants AC Milan, where he could join fellow ex-Chelsea outcast Fikayo Tomori in finding success abroad.

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