Arsene Wenger has revealed he tried to sign N’Golo Kante both when he was in France and at Leicester – and hinted that finances scuppered Arsenal’s chances of beating Chelsea to the midfielder.

Kante joined Chelsea from champions Leicester for £32million in the summer and has been exceptional in a side that has threatened to run away with the Premier League title.

But Wenger has admitted that Kante might have been lining up on the opposite side of Saturday’s clash with Chelsea, having monitored the 25-year-old since his time in France, where he played at Boulogne and Caen before his switch to the Midlands in 2015.

Asked if he had ever tried to sign the brilliant midfielder, Wenger said: ‘When he was in France, when he was at Leicester.’

When pushed about why Arsenal missed out on Kante, who is understood to earn around £110,000 a week at Stamford Bridge, Wenger added: ‘We cannot explain everything, but it is quite obvious when you look at where he has gone.

‘I do not want to talk more about that. Transfers are transfers.’

While Wenger suggested that money was the main reason why Kante joined Chelsea rather than Arsenal, his club did sign a midfielder for even more money last summer.

Granit Xhaka cost £35m from Borussia Monchengladbach, but the Switzerland international has suffered with disciplinary issues this season. He has been shown two red cards already at Arsenal, meaning he has been dismissed nine times since 2014.

Meanwhile, Wenger will be without Aaron Ramsey for three weeks after the midfielder suffered a calf injury.

Ramsey came off 20 minutes into the 2-1 defeat to Watford on Tuesday, meaning he will now miss the major ties with Chelsea and the Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.

‘He will be out for 21 days,’ Wenger said. ‘We are a bit short in midfield but we have young players who can do well in there, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

‘We have lost Ramsey, and Olivier Giroud has a test though he should be all right. Maybe Danny Welbeck will come back into the group.’

culled from dailymail

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