The signing of N'Golo Kante is a major triumph for Chelsea because this is a player that was wanted by some of the biggest and richest clubs on the continent.
European heavyweights like Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, who can offer Kante Champions League football in the upcoming season, and a lot more money as well, both wanted to sign the Frenchman, but were both beaten by the Blues.
The player chose west London as his next destination as he seemingly perceives Chelsea under Antonio Conte as an exciting long-term project.
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Kante's arrival, and the knowledge that he chose them over even bigger clubs, will be a real shot in the arm for Chelsea, and it could also serve as a much-needed kick up the backside for some of the players who are already at the club.
The Kante signing is also a signal of intent from Chelsea. The club is obviously ready to support their new manager in the transfer market, as their deals for Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante already sees their spending this summer exceed £60 million.
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First and foremost, however, Kante will provide a much-needed upgrade on the field. In fact, the 25-year-old looks almost tailor-made for a Chelsea side that under-achieved so immensely last season.
The energetic midfielder covers immense amounts of ground during a game, and always seems to pop up where he is needed. He made more tackles and interceptions than any other player in the five big European leagues last season, and can also contribute to the attack with crisp, forward-thinking passes.
From a distance, Chelsea's problems during last campaign seemed to stem from a lack of creativity and a leaky defence. At the root of those problems though, is a midfield that hasn’t functioned properly since the start of 2015.
The conundrum above all others in the heart of the Blues team has been how to accommodate Cesc Fabregas, and Kante could very well be the piece that has been missing in that particular jigsaw.
Fabregas has some outstanding qualities. His distribution, his ability to read the game and set the pace, and his fantastic eye for a killer pass is all top quality. At the same time, the Spaniard totally lacks other qualities that’s becoming increasingly important in the modern game. He is not an athlete and he lacks the pace, power, and quick feet that is so essential in the middle of park.
A Chelsea team with Fabregas in central midfield gets overrun time and time again. Repeated attempts have been made to get around this problem, either by playing the Spaniard as a number 10, or by partnering him with lots of defensive options.
None of those solutions have yielded great success though. Fabregas is at his best when he can dictate play from a deep midfield position, and chucking on defensive midfielders leaves the team short of attacking prowess.
It’s no coincident that Fabregas was at his majestic best when Nemanja Matic was in the form of his life, in the first part of the title winning 2014/15 season. Chelsea will hope that Kante, besides all his other qualities, can provide the steel and quick legs that brings the best out of the Spaniard.
There may be even more glamorous signings than Kante arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer, but don’t be surprised if the diminutive French grafter turns out to be the most significant one.
Is N'Golo Kante the signing of the summer so far? Leave us YOUR opinions in the comment section below!
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