Other clubs went to sleep while Chelsea signed a rare gem, Arsenal legend admits

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Arsenal legend Martin Keown has played in one of the Premier League’s best ever squad that saw the likes of France legend Patrick Vieira and Brazil legend Gilberto Silva feature for Arsenal in the middle of the park.

Keown has hailed Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante as one of the greatest midfielders the league has ever seen, and is surprised at how Chelsea signed him for just £32m from Leicester City, while other Premier League teams watched on.

“Right now, there is not a finer defensive midfielder in the world than the all-action Kante,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail.

“Is he the best ever? That is hard to say. You could definitely make a case.

Photo: Getty images

“I was blessed to play behind Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Those players provide you with pure protection and you feel safer with them in front of you. Kante gives that to this Chelsea defence.

“Maurizio Sarri tried playing him in a different position but Thomas Tuchel is playing him where he is at his best. Not only do we have to say Leicester found a gem in Kante but Chelsea got an absolute bargain when they spent £32 million on him in 2016.

“The Blues had just finished 10th in the Premier League, remember, so were not even in Europe. Yet while other sides went to sleep, Chelsea signed a world beater. Every team in Europe would love to have this midfielder, with a twin engine, starting for them now.

“Kante would have been warned to watch out for Ilkay Gundogan arriving late in the box. So he would have been astonished to see City’s top scorer in the distance, having been deployed as their deepest midfield player.

“Now 30, Kante has won Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and World Cup medals. He is, quite simply, one of the game’s greats.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.