Why Ngolo Kante to Real Madrid makes sense
Background photo: Little Savage, CC BY-SA 4.0
Everyone remembers when N'Golo Kante burst onto the scene during Leicester City's fairytale Premier League campaign in 2015/16. He was at the heart of that title run. Covering every blade of grass, nullifying opposition attacks, throwing his body against all sorts of incoming shots, the Frenchman provided the balance that allowed the team to flourish and make history in the English top flight. At the time, Chelsea counted themselves lucky to get their hands on the diminutive midfielder.
It was a step in the right direction for Kante. He won another Premier League title in his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge and the 2017 PFA Player of the Year award. The Frenchman continued as the heartbeat in Chelsea's midfield setup until Maurizio Sarri arrived. The Italian preferred Jorginho's distributive abilities in holding midfield and forced Kante to the wing in a more advanced role. Kante possesses the raw talent needed when attacking but lacks polish.
Chelsea fans expected Frank Lampard to right the wrong when the club legend replaced Sarri. Instead, he stuck with Jorginho. The Frenchman started a dozen Premier League matches through Matchday 22. Jorginho started 17. Lampard clearly favours the Brazilian-born Italian international even though he often uses the pair as a double pivot. Kante makes the most of his limited time, bagging three goals to match his midfield partner. Jorginho boasts two assists and significantly more influence in Chelsea's buildup.
In the lineup to control the match and tempo for Chelsea, Chelsea's No.5 is in the middle of everything. Kante is more effective at either end, whether dispossessing opponents or finishing a movement for Chelsea. His superiority in key passes, the metric for assists in which the goal isn't scored, suggests that, higher up the pitch, he's been unlucky not to match his partner in assists.
Nevertheless, the 28-year-old isn't made to settle for less. His declining influence indicates he should move on and join another club where he can have more impact. It appears the World Cup winner agrees. Reports claim he is considering a move to Real Madrid. The Spanish giants kept tabs on him after the summer transfer window. A transfer makes sense for both parties.
While Real Madrid are already La Liga's joint-top defence [with Atletico], Los Blancos fight on several fronts with defensive midfield the position in which they most lack depth. Toni Kroos and/or Luka Modric often operate from deeper positions but Casemiro is the only d-mid in Zinedine Zidane's squad. Kante provides a second option that will allow the manager to rest his Brazilian destroyer.
Kante is a workhorse who inspires his team wherever he goes. Ask Lionel Messi about his performance for France in the World Cup last year during a Man of The Match display against Argentina.
Meanwhile, he's won all there is in England. Why not accept a new challenge? With four triumphs in the last six years, Real Madrid offers the best chance to add a Champions League medal to his already impressive collection.
Kante would also reunite with former teammates Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois. He was a connection between them on the pitch at Stamford Bridge. He can be that again at Stamford Bridge. The time is ripe.