Over the summer transfer window, there was a lot of activity for clubs, both in the Premier League and other leagues. We saw lots of big name signings and movements from club to club. Zlatan’s move from PSG to United definitely stood out as one of the biggest moves of the summer. We also saw players like Higuain and Pogba swap clubs, but of them all, none has made the same level of impact as N’golo Kante.
Kante definitely had a fruitful and revealing season with Leicester City in 2015/16, but he wasn’t the big name signing that most Chelsea fans expected over the summer. Some of us wanted a Paul Pogba or Axel Witsel at least, but the Chelsea management and Conte had their sights set on Kante; a player that prior to last season with Leicester was a nobody — at least, in the world of football. But fast forward to this season’s opener against West Ham, and it dawned on most people that he may in fact be the man we needed most. With Kante playing alongside Nemnaja Matic, Chelsea suddenly became more assured and solid in midfield— and the story has only gotten better.
Kante brings to Chelsea a much needed solidity that it lacked last season. He is tireless in his runs, he knows when to tackle, and has a positional awareness like none other, but if you think that’s all there is to the little Frenchman, then you haven’t really followed his progress in recent weeks/months. If there ever was doubt as to whether Kante can do more than tackle and close down opposition defences, his goal against Manchester United surely would have put them to rest. The goal was nothing short of class, and something we only expect from players like Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard. But this was none of them, it was our very own Kante, in his element.
For a player that was acquired for just £30 million, and in a market where players are utterly overpriced, I am sure you’d agree that that was a bargain for Chelsea, and it may still be months away from the end of the season, but it is clear to all the amount of change the Frenchman has brought to Chelsea. His presence provides the much needed cover and boost to both our midfield and defence.
Already, there are comparisons of him to the legendary Claude Makalele, and as overly too quick as they are, Kante is well on course to reaching the same heights as he did in the game. He’s still in his mid 20s, and so has plenty of years ahead of him. If Conte is able to keep him firing the way he’s started this season, it’ll only be a matter of time before he reaches the peak of his game. We may not have gotten Pogba or Ibra, but we definitely got the signing of the summer.