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Ranieri would 'understand' if Kante leaves

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri would understand if midfielder N'Golo Kante decided to leave the Premier League champions.

Kante's impressive season has led to him being linked with a switch, with Chelsea and Arsenal among those reportedly interested.

However, Leicester are keen to keep the France international and Ranieri said the 25-year-old had been offered a new deal despite being contracted until mid-2019.

While the Italian would prefer Kante stayed, he knows the midfielder may want a new opportunity.

"I know one thing, we have offered a new deal of a contract to him," Ranieri told the Leicester Mercury.

"He wanted to wait because he wanted to finish Euro 2016. Now I hear there is so much speculation behind him.

"I don't want to lose him. I don't want to, but I could understand if he wants to go.

"At this point, I hope the team bring the maximum. I don't know about the money, I am not a manager, just a coach, so I don't speak about money.

"I say what I feel, I want him here."

Ranieri was unwilling to say whether Chelsea had put in a bid for Kante, but is aware of interest from numerous clubs.

He said: "I don't want to speak about this kind of speculation.

"I speak to him but I can't tell you. I speak often with him. I would like now to be sure who stays with me or not, because now we start the friendly games and I have to manage change and try to do something.

"I would like to understand if he would like to stay with me or no."