N’golo Kante transfers to Saudi’s Al-Ittihad, soccer club confirms

Chelsea defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante has agreed to join Al-Ittihad from the West London-based soccer club on a free transfer, Saudi Pro League champions confirmed Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Frenchman’s contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of June and he will join the Saudi side after on a three-year contract, reportedly worth £100 million ($108 million) per year. The Sun reported that the new contract is worth six times what Kante earned at Chelsea. 

The Saudi champions issued a statement confirming the move, saying that the transfer was completed on Tuesday following Kante’s medical tests being finalized in Dubai. 

“Kante’s addition to Al-Ittihad is considered one of the most high-profile and impactful signings in the club’s history,” the statement said.

“It is part of the club’s efforts to establish itself as a top choice for world-class players in the Saudi Professional League. Ittihad Club wishes Kante success in achieving the club’s goals and fulfilling the expectations of all the club’s fans and supporters during his time with the team.”

Kante joined Chelsea in 2016 after winning the English Premier League with Leicester City.

He only made nine appearances for the side in the 2022/23 season after being hampered with injuries.

It is the second major transfer for Al-Ittihad in June, after fellow Frenchman Karim Benzema left Real Madrid for a three-year-deal at the Saudi club this month.

Al-Nassr, which came runner-up in the SPL to Al-Ittihad by five points, signed Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo last December. Ronaldo joined the Saudi team from Manchester United, on a two-and-a-half-year contract worth more than $214.5 million, according to some estimates.

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