Graham Potter previews Chelsea's clash with Dinamo Zagreb
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N’Golo Kante’s past comments on Tottenham manager Antonio Conte suggest that a move from Chelsea to north London could be on the cards next summer. Spurs are one of several teams thought to be keeping an eye on developments involving the Frenchman, whose stint at Stamford Bridge could soon wind down.
Tottenham will surely look to use every advantage they can when it comes to Kante, who has admirers around Europe thanks to his relentless energy and glistening trophy cabinet. Conte may well be an advantage in himself, given that he and the midfielder enjoyed their time together at Chelsea.
Having completed a high-profile transfer from Leicester in 2016, Kante won the Premier League under Conte during his first year as Blues boss. Furthermore, last year the 31-year-old admitted that the Italian’s guidance brought out a ‘beautiful’ spell in his career.
“With Antonio Conte in the period we won more than 10 games in a row [was when I played my best football at Chelsea],” Kante told the club’s official website.
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“At that time when we were going on the pitch we were very confident, the team were playing very well, we managed to dominate our opponents and to win. I felt very good on the pitch. That was a beautiful time.”
Conte was eventually given his marching orders by Chelsea in 2018 but Kante stayed on. With one year remaining on his contract, he is set to be available on a free transfer next summer with Spurs and Barcelona supposedly positioning themselves to battle it out for his signature.
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The prospect of working under Conte, who used Kante to great effect at Stamford Bridge, may be enough to sway the World Cup-winner towards the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and away from the Nou Camp. The Italian has turned Spurs into a Premier League force with his side sitting third in the table after 13 matches.
Conte also oversaw a spirited Champions League victory over Marseille on Tuesday night that booked Tottenham’s spot in the knockout rounds. The manager was banned from the touchline due to a red card picked up against Sporting Lisbon and his temporary replacement, Cristian Stellini, described him as ‘indispensable’.
“He’s very passionate and if he cannot communicate with us he struggles a lot,” he said. “The presence of a coach like Conte, both before the game and the week leading up to it and during the match, is just indispensable – especially a tough match like this where it’s intense until the final whistle.
“It’s a totally different world because normally the days before the game, Antonio will do all his preparation himself, alone. But [against Marseille] we had to do this all together so it changed everything.”
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