According to reports in Spain, Chelsea are determined to sign Real Madrid ace Marco Asensio and have offered N’Golo Kante in order to sign the Spaniard.
The Blues have endured a disappointing season as they have failed to defend their title. They go into their final match of the top-flight campaign fighting for a top-four finish.
In what has been an underwhelming season for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, the £110,000-a-week Kante has been a standout performer, scooping Chelsea’s player of the year award on Thursday.
Kante has become one of the world’s best midfielders over the last couple of seasons. Considering how people had not even heard of the French midfielder just a few years ago, his meteoric rise into the one of the world’s best has simply been a remarkable story.
While the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Willian were the force behind Chelsea’s title success last season, Kante’s importance simply cannot be explained. He was the bedrock of Conte’s title-winning team last season. Kante is and has been everywhere when it comes to a football pitch.
The Frenchman’s energy and industry helps Chelsea tick in the attack. He wins back a lot of possession, runs continuously on the pitch and also excels in other areas of the game. At this point, with 2 league titles in his locker and a firm place in the French National team, Kante is one of the top defensive midfielders.
This season, Chelsea’s defending without Kante playing his shielding role has been awful. Against Crystal Palace, they were overrun in the midfield with Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko struggling to exert dominance. In the wake of the 2-1 defeat at Palace, the crucial importance of Kante to Conte’s 3-4-3 system became clearer.
In the Champions League group-stage game against Roma, despite taking a 2-0 lead, Chelsea drew the game 3-3. Kante’s absence was once again felt as Roma exposed Chelsea’s defensive frailties and eked out a point from Stamford Bridge.
Things became very clear that Conte’s team were lacking the presence of Kante, who was forced off with a hamstring injury during a World Cup qualifier last year. The Frenchman’s loss was felt as Chelsea continued dropping points, which saw them fail to mount a title challenge this season.
Kante’s calming influence in the midfield, where he partnered with Nemanja Matic, was markedly noticeable last season. The duo bossed the midfield, providing the perfect base for the Chelsea attackers to express themselves freely.
Despite being less influential in Chelsea’s season, him winning the club’s player of the year award speaks volumes. Kante’s role as a defensive midfielder is simple – to break up the play, win the ball and then give it to his teammates. Straightforward but crucial, and this makes him an indispensable player under Conte.
Chelsea must keep hold of Kante and avoid the swap deal involving Asensio. He plays a vital role that is so important to the Blues’ success.