The £30 million fee Chelsea used to purchase N’Golo Kante from Leicester City nows looks like a complete bargain.
Manchester United paid £89m for Paul Pogba. Everton just paid the same amount for Jordan Pickford.
But neither came close to reaching Kante’s incredible levels as the Blues cruised to the Premier League title.
Yet, in the eyes of Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, Kante wasn’t the best signing of the season. In his eyes, that honour went to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swede missed the final few weeks of the season due to a knee injury but in the 28 Premier League matches he played for Manchester United, in which he scored 17 goals and provided five assists, Neville believes Ibrahimovic gave his teammates “a lot more confidence”.
"Ultimately he’s [Ibrahimovic] been the best signing," he told Sky Sports, per the Manchester Evening News.
"He’s given the players and the club a lot more confidence."
Best signing poll
Kante and Ibrahimovic both deserve a nomination for the best signing of the season. As do Sadio Mane and Kante’s teammate, David Luiz, who shone for Chelsea following his surprise return from Paris Saint-Germain last year.
Those four players were put forward by GiveMeSport in a fan poll to decide the best signing of the 2016-17 season. And there was one clear winner: N’Golo Kante.
N’Golo Kante: 19,000
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 6,700
Sadio Mane: 4,200
David Luiz: 606
It’s impossible to compare the stats of the four players to determine who was actually the best in 2016-17.
But you can take a look at Kante’s stats to realise just how impressive he was at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield.
Kante’s Premier League stats (16-17 season, 35 matches played)
Passes completed: 1,865
Key passes: 21
Defensive errors: 1
Tackles won: 82
Stats per Squawka.
Watch: The best of N'Golo Kante
So good was Kante that Gary Lineker believes whatever top six club signed him from Leicester last summer was destined to win the title.
"I think wherever Kante went, wherever in the top six he went to, that side would win the league," Lineker told GQ Magazine. "I think if Kante went to Spurs, they win the league.
"He wins it high, he intercepts everything, he’s made more tackles in a season and a half than any player has made in the last three seasons. He's a phenomenal player.
"He plays between the lines, he threads balls through, he doesn't give it away very often. Between box to box, I think he's the best player in the world."