N’Golo Kante joins Saudi champions Al Ittihad


N’Golo Kante has decided to sign a three-year agreement with Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad when his Chelsea contract expires this summer.

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Al Nassr in January, N’Golo Kante will join Karim Benzema at the Jeddah-based club on June 30. Kante’s Chelsea contract officially expires on that date.

“The contract [with Kante] was finalized on Tuesday, June 20th, after he completed his medical tests at a specialized medical center in Dubai”, Al-Ittihad said in a statement. This move comes as Ittihad, who recently won the Saudi Professional League, aims to strengthen their squad.

“Kante’s addition to Al-Ittihad is considered one of the most high-profile and impactful signings in the club’s history. It is part of the club’s efforts to establish itself as a top choice for world-class players in the Saudi Professional League.”

According to sources, the 32-year-old’s contract will pay him about €86 million ($109.78 million) a year.

Kante had been expected to extend his contract with Chelsea in February, but no agreement was reached, and the midfielder has now opted to leave Stamford Bridge after seven years.

Kante moved to west London after playing a significant part in Leicester City’s unexpected Premier League title triumph in 2016. There, he became the first player since Eric Cantona in 1993 to win back-to-back English top-flight championships with two different teams.

After winning the Europa League in 2017 and the FA Cup in 2018, there was more success, including the Champions League title in 2021. But during a difficult last season with Chelsea, injuries limited him to just nine appearances across all competitions.

Chelsea finished a dismal 12th in the Premier League despite spending more than £600 million on new players since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital acquired the club last May. Before the season finished, Thomas Tuchel and his replacement Graham Potter were both fired as managers, leaving Frank Lampard in control in the interim.

It is expected to be another turbulent summer at Chelsea following the hiring of Mauricio Pochettino as manager last month, with several players, notably Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic, and Mason Mount, appearing likely to go.