The first big name of the defending English Premier League champions is heading elsewhere.
25 year-old midfielder N’Golo Kante has been transferred from Leicester City to Chelsea for just over £30 million ($39.6 million) after Leicester offered an improved contract in hopes of keeping Kante. It’s not a bad return on investment as Leicester only paid £5.6 million ($7.3 million) for Kante last summer from French team Caen. In between, Kante
Kante had a busy summer ahead of him after winning the EPL title for Leicester as he played for the host nation France in Euro 2016. Kante played in three Euro matches as he was more a reserve player for the Euro finalists.
While a move like this was going to be inevitable for a team like Leicester, one has to wonder about uncertainty among their other players and whether they leave or not. Thanks to the title win, new EPL TV money as well as UEFA Champions League money, Leicester has much more money to attempt to keep their stars. That worked with striker Jamie Vardy as he turned down an offer from Arsenal to sign a vastly improved long-term deal with Leicester.
But at the same time, Leicester is still seen as the small team that shockingly won the Premier League and regardless of how much money they have, big teams like Arsenal and Chelsea will always have more. And players like Kante as well as Riyad Mahrez (who is also speculated to be going elsewhere) know that if they don’t move and “cash in” now to move to a bigger team, that opportunity may pass if Leicester cannot perform like they did last season. So now that the dam has burst and a Leicester star has been sold, the other players have to be having thoughts about going somewhere else rather than potentially fall back into midtable obscurity and never get back.