Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid target N’Golo Kante from Chelsea and are prepared to use Philippe Coutinho as a makeweight.

According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have entered the race to sign Chelsea superstar N’Golo Kante in the summer transfer window. The French midfielder is also a transfer target for arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Kante has been a top-class performer since arriving in England five years ago. The midfielder signed for Chelsea in 2016 and has won the Premier League and the Europa League with the Blues, becoming a key cog in the side. However, the ongoing campaign has been a difficult one for the diminutive Frenchman due to injury issues.

The 29-year-old has made just 22 appearances in 2019-20 for Chelsea, bagging three goals. Recent reports claimed that Blues’ boss Frank Lampard was open to a sale in the summer, with Real Madrid seriously interested in the World Cup winner.

Kante's time at Chelsea coming to an end? (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Kante’s time at Chelsea coming to an end? (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

With Luka Modric nearing the end of his career at the top level and the lack of cover and competition for Casemiro in the defensive midfield role, Zinedine Zidane is interested in shoring up his midfield departmnet next summer. And compatriot N’Golo Kante has emerged as a potential target for Los Blancos.

However, Real Madrid will now have to battle with arch-rivals Barcelona, who are also intent on signing the 29-year-old Frenchman. The Catalans are staring at the possibility of losing two midfielders in the summer as Ivan Rakitic continues to be linked with an exit, while Arturo Vidal’s future is also far from secure.

The La Liga champions see Kante as the ideal player to improve their midfield and in order to secure his signing, are willing to use Philippe Coutinho as a bargaining chip. The Brazilian, who signed for Barcelona in 2018, has failed to make the desired impact and was loaned out to Bayern Munich last summer.

Barcelona hoping to use Chelsea's interest in Coutinho to sign Kante (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Barcelona hoping to use Chelsea’s interest in Coutinho to sign Kante (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

While he has fared decently in Germany, the Bavarians have no intention of signing him permanently. Barcelona though, remain keen on offloading Coutinho, leading to interest from a number of clubs in the Premier League, including Chelsea.

With the finances of clubs across Europe likely to be impacted by the coronavirus crisis, Barcelona are exploring the possibility of swapping players with clubs during the transfer window. They have already been linked with a potential swap between Nelson Semedo and Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo.

And now, Barcelona are hoping to capitalise on Chelsea’s interest in Coutinho to beat Real Madrid to the signing of Kante in the summer. This certainly gives the Catalans an edge in the race for the Frenchman, but it remains to be seen if they are able to get their hands on him in the summer.

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