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Claudio Ranieri wants N'Golo Kante to stay with Leicester but will understand if he decides to leave the Premier League champions.
Kante moved to the King Power Stadium from Caen last summer and went on to play a huge part in Leicester's Premier League success with the 25-year-old shortlisted for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.
Leicester have offered him a new deal but he did not sign the contract before joining up with the France national team for Euro 2016 and there is growing speculation that Chelsea are ready to table a bid for the midfielder.
Ranieri would like to keep hold of the France international but accepts that he may have little choice but to let him leave the club.
"I know one thing, we have offered a new deal of a contract to him," Ranieri told the Leicester Mercury. "He wanted to wait because he wanted to finish Euro 2016. Now I hear there is so much speculation behind him.
"I don't want to lose him. I don't want to, but I could understand if he wants to go.
"At this point, I hope the team bring the maximum. I don't know about the money, I am not a manager, just a coach, so I don't speak about money.
"I say what I feel, I want him here."
Chelsea are reported to have made an offer for Kante but Ranieri has refused to confirm or deny the speculation.
"I don't want to speak about this kind of speculation," he said.
"I speak to him but I can't tell you. I speak often with him. I would like now to be sure who stays with me or not, because now we start the friendly games and I have to manage change and try to do something.
"I would like to understand if he would like to stay with me or no."