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 By PA Sport

Caen rule out sale of N'Golo Kante to Marseille

N'Golo Kante, left, will continue to pester Marseille next season as a Caen player.

Marseille's difficult offseason appears to have suffered a further setback after their pursuit of midfielder N'Golo Kante was ruled "over" by his current club Caen.

OM had lined up the 24-year-old as a possible reinforcement to a squad weakened by the departures this summer of first-team stalwarts Andre Ayew, Dimitri Payet, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Giannelli Imbula, Rod Fanni and Jeremy Morel.

But Caen director Xavier Gravelaine remains hopeful of keeping Kante, a virtual ever-present since joining from Boulogne two years ago, at the club -- and insists that if he does move, it will not be to the Stade Velodrome.

"For us, OM and N'Golo Kante is finished," said Gravelaine in quotes reported by L'Equipe. "There may be another offer from overseas this week but we absolutely can keep N'Golo Kante."

Marseille's only signings so far have been Metz midfielder Bouna Sarr, Netherlands defender Karim Rekik -- a 20-year-old who failed to make an impression at Manchester City -- France under-21 winger Georges-Kevin N'Koudou from Nantes and veteran goalkeeper Yohann Pele on a free transfer to back up Steve Mandanda.

In addition, they are still waiting on manager Marcelo Bielsa to commit to the second-year option in the contract that brought him to the club last summer or sign an extension to 2017.

OM finished fourth in Ligue 1 last season to miss out on Champions League qualification, despite having led the table at the halfway stage.

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