Slaven Bilic claims Leicester's N'Golo Kante almost joined West Ham last summer

Slaven Bilic has revealed that N'Golo Kante was almost a West Ham player.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has told the Daily Mail that he was 'quite close' to bringing N'Golo Kante to Upton Park, prior to his move to Leicester City.

The Hammers travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on Premier League leaders Leicester, where the Foxes can move another step closer to claiming the title.

West Ham will be hoping to spoil Leicester's party, but one Foxes star who will have a huge impact on the game is midfielder N'Golo Kante.

The Frenchman, 25, left Ligue 1 side SM Caen for the King Power Stadium last summer, and his move went somewhat under the radar given that few fans knew of him before joining Leicester.

Now though, everybody knows who he is. Kante has earned plaudits for his relentless energy, tackles and interceptions, becoming the heartbeat of a Leicester side who have stunned the world this season.

However, it all could have been so different. Ahead of Sunday's game, West Ham manager Bilic has told the Daily Mail that Kante was 'quite close' to signing for West Ham.

Bilic explained that, because West Ham moved to sign Pedro Obiang and Alex Song, there was no room for Kante to arrive at Upton Park, and West Ham subsequently avoided the deal - but admitted that he remains a huge fan of Kante.

'"We were quite close. I watched him in France, in Nice," said Bilic. "He was a good player, the same player he is now with Leicester. A holding midfielder, not very tall, but he's one of those players that you think after 20 minutes that there are twins, that there are two of them because the energy, the cleverness he plays with. He's always there."

"When you watch a game on television there are players that are always on telly. They are never out of the picture, whatever you see, you see them, he's one of them. That's not only an ability involving big lungs or legs or whatever, it's in the head. So, he was there but then we got some players before in the same positions and it would simply have been too many players for the same position," he added.

How much will West Ham regret not signing Kante?

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