N’Golo Kante may have taken the Premier League by storm with Leicester City but it could just as easily have been West Ham he was turning out for each week, according to Slaven Bilic.
The Croatian has confirmed that Kante was ‘close’ to joining the Hammers, whilst the east London outfit were prepared to move for him when he was still with former club Caen.
Bilic on Kante
Ultimately he made the switch to the Foxes instead, for the measly sum of £5.6million, but that wasn’t before Bilic has registered an interest. As relayed by the Daily Mirror, the West Ham boss has confirmed as much.
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“He was on our list, we were quite close, quite close. I had watched him in France. He was a good player, the same player he is now at Leicester – a holding midfielder, not very tall but he is one of those players that after 20 minutes you think there are twins," Bilic said.
“You think there is two of him because of his energy and his intelligence, he is always there. When you watch the television, he is always in shot, he is never out. That is not only big lungs, big legs or a capacity to run, it’s also intelligence.
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“He was on our list, but then we got some other players for the same position and it was a bit too many players for the same position.”
The Leicester lynchpin
What will undoubtedly sting Hammers fans even more is just how much of an impact Kante has made since joining Claudio Ranieri’s men.
The France international has become a lynchpin in the centre of midfield, and it’s his energy that has allowed Leicester to maintain such a threat in the closing stages of many games.
Indeed, the current Premier League leaders look destined to have their fairytale campaign topped off perfectly by the title come next month.
West Ham vs Leicester
They face West Ham tomorrow looking to put themselves just two wins away from securing England’s biggest prize, though Bilic won’t refrain from attempting to throw a spanner in the works.
West Ham are themselves a dangerous asset, one still just about in contention for a top four finish. Both Manchester City and Manchester United are ahead of them at the moment, but with six games left to play there’s plenty that could change.
West Ham fans, do you think Kante would have been a good signing for you? Would he be the same player now? Let us know in the comments box below.