Manchester United hoped that Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin would transform their midfield into something similar to the days where Paul Scholes and Roy Keane roamed in the centre of the park.
Their efforts, however, have proved fruitless. The pair of summer additions, just like the majority of their Manchester United teammates, haven’t lived up to the billing.
And so the midfield will undergo another rebuild in the transfer window and United have identified Leicester’s N’Golo Kante as their prime target.
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That is according to The Sun, who believe United will chase the industrious midfielder on the back of recent praise from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United legend admitted Kante has been the Premier League’s best player this campaign “by a long way”, and the Frenchman will be a contender in the running to be named Player of the Season.
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The club’s hierarchy will have been encouraged by Claudio Ranieri’s recent admission that Leicester will consider big offers for the 25-year-old.
Ranieri told reporters, per Sky Sports: “I think he should rest here a while but if some big teams give us a lot of money then maybe we can think about it.
“If he's not happy here then I don't want sad players. But he’s always smiling so let's see.
“There is a chance he could leave but our focus is on the pitch for the last seven matches. After that is another season."
Kante is open to a move
Kante himself refused to rule out a summer move, saying: “I will fight for Leicester this season and next season we never know and we will see.
“At this moment I am focused on Leicester. We have to finish well this season but I don't mind about the other clubs."
Kante’s performances for the Foxes have been slightly overshadowed by the exploits of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, but he’s nonetheless played his part in their rise to the top of the table.
Better defensive stats than Schneiderlin & Schweinsteiger
The Frenchman, a £5.6 million signing from Caen in the summer, is averaging 4.5 tackles and 4.2 interceptions per league game, and it has been his effort in defending and retrieving the ball that has helped Vardy and Mahrez’s goal tally.
By comparison, Schneiderlin averages 2.7 tackles and 2.5 interceptions while Schweinsteiger, who has only started 13 league games, averages two tackles and 1.3 interceptions.
So United could certainly do with Kante, who does a lot more running than the Manchester United duo, too.
Ranieri was stunned by Kante’s energy levels after his first training session at the club, saying: “He was running so hard I thought he must have a pack full of batteries hidden in his shorts. He never stopped running in training,” per The Guardian.
Kante’s price tag has risen immensely in the past few months but United are in a position where they might just have to pay the asking fee.