Have Arsenal left it too late to sign Leicester star Kante, with Real Madrid hovering?

Albania's Burim Kukeli and Mergim Mavraj in action with France's N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante was arguably the Premier League's best midfielder last season, but will he be playing in Spain next year?

Albania's Odise Roshi in action with France's N'Golo KanteAlbania's Odise Roshi in action with France's N'Golo Kante

With reports coming out of Madrid this week from the Marca that France legend and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is very keen on Leicester City midfielder N'Golo Kante, Arsenal fans must surely be asking whether they are set to miss out on another player seemingly tailor made to come into their side, with sources such as the Mail previously declaring the Londoner's interest.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has missed out on a clutch of top quality stars in recent years, often failing to provide an adequate alternative after. Luis Suarez is the famous one that got away of course, but now France international Kante, sure to be open to Wenger's coaching, could be the latest that Arsenal could have moved for, but dallied and saw go elsewhere.

Leicester's Ngolo Kante in action with Arsenal's Alexis SanchezLeicester's Ngolo Kante in action with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

The Marca report suggests Zidane has instructed Real to bring Kante to the Bernabeu this summer by meeting what the Mail say is a £20 million release clause, kicking into motion a recruitment drive few clubs in the world will be able compete against.

The former Caen man would have been superb alongside new Arsenal man Granit Xhaka, who is much more of a playmaker, giving the rest of the Arsenal midfield license to attack, but if Zidane gets his wish he will be fulfilling the Claude Makelele/Didier Deschamps role for the World Cup winner.

Of course, Leicester may yet have plenty to say on the future of the player. The Premier League champions managed to bat away interest in star striker Jamie Vardy from the Gunners, something that should give supporters and the board reason for optimism at least. Real would be a different animal though.

Leicester City's N'Golo Kante lifts the trophy as they celebrate winning the Barclays Premier LeagueLeicester City's N'Golo Kante lifts the trophy as they celebrate winning the Barclays Premier League

Though the 25-year-old is said to have a release clause low enough for him to be a very attractive addition to any number of top clubs, the Foxes would surely be more willing to sell him to an overseas side to avoid strengthening their domestic rivals.

Many will be looking at Leicester at the start of the new season expecting a collapse after the unpredictable glory last season brought. Though the Foxes are unlikely to nosedive, it's reasonable that Leicester would to want to avoid selling their best players to the clubs that will be pursuing Champions League football as they surely will be hoping for next season.

But whatever hopes Leicester or Arsenal have for Kante, they will know that a concerted move for the midfielder from Real Madrid could well be the end of his short, but impressive Premier League career.

Leicester City's Ngolo Kante in action with Stoke City's Xherdan ShaqiriLeicester City's Ngolo Kante in action with Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch