The second addition to Antonio Conte’s squad for the coming season has been completed. N’Golo Kante is a Chelsea player.
Following on from the signing of Michy Batshuayi from the French League, Kante joins from Premier League Leicester City, where he so memorably played a major part in the Foxes’ championship triumph last season.
The 25-year-old came close to adding to that success on the international stage earlier this month. He was part of the France squad that was denied a host-team triumph at Euro 2016 by an extra-time Portugal goal in the final.
After signing a five-year contract, Kante said: ‘I am so happy to have signed for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s a dream come true for me.
‘The opportunity to work with Antonio Conte, a brilliant coach, and some of the best players in the world was simply too good to turn down.
‘My first season in English football was very special and now I hope to go on to achieve even more during my time as a Chelsea player. I am looking forward to meeting up with my new team-mates and helping the club achieve a lot of success.’
Chelsea Football Club technical director Michael Emenalo added: ‘N’Golo is a fantastic signing ahead of the new season and we are delighted to have been able to bring such a talented player to the club.
‘He is a perfect fit in terms of Antonio Conte’s philosophies and the style of football he wants to play.
‘For a player of his age he has already built up a wealth of experience and his exceptional quality will without doubt be a great addition to the team.’
The midfielder was the first signing made after Claudio Ranieri became Leicester manager last summer.
What followed is well-known throughout the world of football as Kante’s ability to win possession of the ball and retain it, and to power his team forward marked him out as the best transfer of the year in many people’s eyes.
He played in all but one of the league games in Leicester’s title win and made the Premier League’s most number of tackles and interceptions. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year.
The France national team came calling in March of this year. Kante impressed and made the starting line-up for the opening game of Euro 2016 when the hosts took on Romania. His figures for passing, tacking and intercepting in that match were again unsurpassed and he supplied the ball for Dmitri Payet to strike a spectacular late winner.
He was suspended for the quarter-final win over Iceland and began the semi-final and final on the bench. He came on in the first of those games against Germany but although many were calling for his introduction as the French midfield laboured against Portugal, he remained an unused substitute in the competition’s decider.
Chelsea is the fourth professional club of Kante‘s career. A Parisian by birth, he played for his local amateur side Suresnes until the age of 19 when he moved north and joined Boulogne.
Kante’s performances for Boulogne in 2012/13, when they were in the French third tier, caught the eye of Caen in the division above, and he helped power the Normandy club to promotion to Ligue 1 in his first season there. He played every game.
Following a second season with Caen he joined Leicester City.
Kante comes to Chelsea with a Premier League winners’ medal and eight international caps to his name.