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Barcelona prefer N’Golo Kante to Willian, says Graham Hunter

7:00 am, 17th July 2018

Sky in Italy have reported that Barca are keen to sign Chelsea midfielder Kante in a deal which could see Andre Gomes move to Stamford Bridge.

Barca have also made two bids for Willian, with the second believed to be worth up to £53m.

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Hunter thinks Kante would be Barca’s preference, even though he thinks it is unlikely they will get either, especially as they have a new manager – Maurizio Sarri – at the helm.

“Barca are far more interested in getting Kante than Willian,” Hunter told the Transfer Talk podcast.

“That is fully understandable, they have been looking for a player like him for a long time. Andres Iniesta has moved on and Sergio Busquets, without Iniesta next to him, while his brilliance remains, his pace, ability to get around the pitch tactically is very different to Kante, who is an extremely good footballer.

“I find it hard to understand how a club like Chelsea, who are shrewd with the prices they command for their players and are starting a new era, could lose either of these exceptional assets, as well as Eden Hazard, especially at a time when a new coach is coming in and will look to those players as the lynchpins of the brand of football he wants to play.

“Barca are fishing in a pond where it will be really tough to land the big fishes.”

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While rivals Real Madrid have sold Cristiano Ronaldo for £105m and been linked with big-money moves for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Hunter says Barca do not have as much financial clout.

“I know Barcelona’s ability to spend like Real Madrid will spend is non-existent.

“They have renewed several big players for contracts that you would not believe and have a number of players they have to clear out. They have got rid of Paulinho on a profit, they probably need to sell Yerry Mina, possibly Lucas Digne, they need to sell Andre Gomes and probably want to sell Rafinha, although I would keep him.

“I don’t think they have the money to do the type of business that they want to do and meet Chelsea’s price.”