Chelsea and Manchester City lead chase for Sevilla midfielder Steven N'Zonzi

Steven N’Zonzi will have the big clubs scrambling to the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night ready to trigger the Sevilla star’s £25million escape clause.

The former Blackburn and Stoke midfielder, who has been likened to Arsenal great Patrick Vieira, faces Leicester City in the Champions League – with Chelsea, ­Manchester City and Juventus hot on his trail.

N’Zonzi has rejected the offer of a new Sevilla contract as he looks for a summer move after an impressive ­two-season spell in La Liga.

Last May, he helped Sevilla win the Europa League final against Liverpool, and now he hopes to halt Leicester’s ­recovery under Craig Shakespeare, who looks set to be named Foxes boss until the end of the season.

N’Zonzi will line up against the Foxes this week
(Photo: Getty)

The Spanish side arrive in the East Midlands with a 2-1 first-leg ­advantage in the last-16 clash.

His former boss at Stoke, Mark Hughes, still can’t believe that the big clubs ignored 28-year-old N’Zonzi in the summer of 2015 when he decided to leave the Potters.

Sevilla snapped him up for just £7m.

Hughes said: “We knew how good he was when he was here. He was under the radar to a great extent.

“I was amazed that nobody in the Premier League came and took him.

“Maybe people are trying to take a lot of credit now, saying he is better after going to Sevilla. I am not sure about that. He was always a very good player at Stoke.

Goal. Stoke City's Steven N'Zonzi scores the 5th
N’Zonzi left Stoke in 2015
(Photo: Steve Bond/Pinnacle)

“Just think back to his last ­performance for us, against Liverpool when we beat them 6-1. He was very much part of that, so he wasn’t playing badly for us.

“I tried really hard to convince him to stay, but I think, deep down, he wanted to get into the France team and felt it couldn’t ­happen for him if he stayed at Stoke.

“I argued that point, but he felt he needed a different ­challenge, to be at a club, in his view, that had a chance of ­winning things.

Sevilla's Beto, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Adil Rami and Steven N'Zonzi celebrate with the trophy after winning the UEFA Europa League Final
N’Zonzi lifted the Europa League trophy last season
(Photo: Reuters / Dylan Martinez)

“It’s been a good decision for him. He’s gone to Sevilla and won the Europa League. He hasn’t quite ­managed to get into the French team yet, which I’m surprised at.

“Maybe now he is getting the plaudits he never got here, because Sevilla is more high-profile. He is certainly a very accomplished player.”

Sam Allardyce – who signed N’Zonzi for Blackburn in 2009 from French side Amiens – explored the ­possibility of calling him up for ­England, after the Frenchman had completed five years’ residency here.

But FIFA knocked back the plans because N’Zonzi had represented France U-21s in a competitive game.

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