You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kante on my radar for years, says Wenger

Press Association logoPress Association 3/02/2017 Mark Mann-Bryans

Arsene Wenger has admitted to twice losing out on N'Golo Kante - with the midfielder set to be at the heart of the Chelsea side which comes up against Arsenal on Saturday.

The 25-year-old has been in fine form for the table-topping Blues having joined them in the summer after starring in Leicester's shock Premier League title success last season.

Kante was heavily linked with Arsenal after Wenger said 12 months ago that he had been aware of the player for several years.

But he instead ended up at London rivals Chelsea and has been an integral part of Antonio Conte's side - who sit nine points clear at the Premier League summit.

Wenger conceded he had twice been thwarted in moves for the former Caen player.

"Yes. When he (was) in France, when he (was) at Leicester," he said when asked if he had looked to sign Kante.

He then appeared to imply Kante had chosen Chelsea for financial reasons.

Asked what happened in a move for the player, Wenger added: "There again, I cannot explain everything but it is quite obvious when you look where he has gone.

Wenger could certainly do with a player like Kante for the short journey to face the title favourites.

He confirmed Aaron Ramsey faces three weeks on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury in the surprise 2-1 home defeat to Watford on Tuesday.

With Granit Xhaka serving a ban for his second red card of the season, Mohamed Elneny in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, Jack Wilshere on loan at Bournemouth and Santi Cazorla and now Ramsey both injured, Wenger's options are limited.

Francis Coquelin will surely start in his most natural role but there is no obvious partner for the Frenchman, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having played in Ramsey's place after replacing him against Watford.

Wenger could opt to start with the England man - who faces a fitness test after taking a knock to the knee against the Hornets - or turn to youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who impressed there in the recent 5-0 FA Cup win over Southampton but has never started a Premier League game.

More From Press Association

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon