Jose Mourinho, who seems to be desperately unhappy with the summer transfer window for Manchester United so far, was targeting N’Golo Kante as his number one transfer priority
According to a report in The Sun, Belgian star Axel Witsel’s agent has revealed that apart from wanting his client to join, Mourinho was keen on securing the French World Cup winner’s signature first. Witsel ultimately decided to join Borussia Dortmund after waiting for the Portuguese to make his mind up.
The diminutive French star, fresh off a 3-week break after winning the World Cup with France, reported to training at Cobham, Chelsea’s training ground, on schedule. Owing to his impressive showings for his national side, there were bound to be rumours of a move away. PSG were reportedly interested but dropped it after Kante himself stated he wanted to stay at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues too, recognising the demand their star midfielder was generating, reportedly decided to offer him a fresh contract worth about £290,000-a-week, making him the second-highest earner in the team after Eden Hazard.
The report goes on to state that Witsel’s agent Paul Stefani was in talks with Manchester United about a potential move for his client, and that he came to know about Kante’s link to the Old Trafford club. The Belgian star reportedly grew tired of waiting for the club to make a move, and ultimately decided to join Dortmund.
So far in the transfer window Manchester United have just managed to make one big signing – that of Fred. The others, Diego Dalot and Lee Grant, were signed as backups to already existing squad members. Thus, it has been a far from ideal situation for Mourinho with regards to the transfer window dealings. Add to that his personal remarks against Anthony Martial make it seem that all is not well at the club for now.
The Reds have Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic already playing the role Kante likes, but would have dearly wanted the Frenchman to sign given his obvious quality. Matic and Kante, in fact, formed a formidable partnership at Chelsea and were instrumental in them winning the 2016/17 Premier League title.
The Blues, on the other hand, have now significantly strengthened their midfield with the signings of Jorginho and most recently Mateo Kovacic. N’Golo Kante, however, will be a sure starter at the club and as of now, his position does not seem to be in any danger. Add to that the fact that Kante has now become a crowd-favourite, it will become increasingly difficult to prise him away from Stamford Bridge.
With some seemingly last-minute panic buys, the Blues seem to have steadied their ship. Manchester United, on the other hand, have been on the lookout for a central defender for a while now, but cannot seem to find an answer. For now, the defensive midfield area is well covered for the Reds, and maybe Mourinho will be trying to focus all his energy on buying a centre-back on Deadline Day.