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N'Golo Kante was 'close' to becoming a West Ham United player before signing for Leicester City, Slaven Bilic has revealed.
Kante has been one of Leicester's top performers this season, with the Foxes on the verge of securing an astounding Premier League triumph.
Hammers boss Bilic explained that the East Londoners seriously considered signing the midfielder from Caen.
"Yes, we were quite close (to signing Kante)," said the Croatian.
"I watched him in France. He was a good player, the same player he is now with Leicester.
"He's 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 the screen. They are never out. Whatever you see, you see them - they are always on television. He's one of them.
"That's not only ability like having big lungs or legs or whatever. The capacity to run - this is in his head."
West Ham ultimately brought in the likes of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and Pedro Obiang during the summer transfer window, while deciding against acquiring Kante.
"He (Kante) was there, but then we got some players in the same positions, and it would have simply been too many players for the same position," added Bilic.
League leaders Leicester face West Ham at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, with the Irons still chasing Champions League qualification.