Since transferring to Chelsea from Leicester City for the 2016/17 season, Ngolo Kante has been a major asset in the Chelsea midfield. That first season, he won Player of the Season and was also part of the Premier League winning side. He helped the Londoners to win the title again the following scene.
The Parisian, who has also been part of a French World Cup winning side, is a powerful on and off the pitch because of his honesty and diligence. What fewer people know is he loves playing cards with his team mates. He became so used to winning at real money poker, his team mates have lauded him as being one of the best.
One thing no one can dispute is the Frenchman’s talents on the field. Below is a look at his future at the club, at potential clubs he could sign for and at what makes him such a talented player.
How is the future looking for Kante?
There has been speculation around whether Kante would stay at the club. A hamstring injury has ruled him out for the majority of the season, and there was talk we would move on from the club. Chelsea have been able to put his medical history to one side, however, and are confident they can persuade him to extend his contract, which runs out at the end of the season.
Where might he go if he decides to leave Stamford Bridge, though? There have been suggestions that he might return to France and serve his home city at Paris Saint German. Playing back on French soil could tempt Kante to the club, and money isn’t likely to be an issue if he decides to negotiate with them.
Some in the sports press have suggested he might play his football next season on Spanish soil instead. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid could pose a major threat to other teams’ hopes if they join the hunt to sign him. There are rumours Barcelona have shortlisted him as a replacement for Sergio Busquets.
In January 2023, however, a rumour was running around that Liverpool were interested in the central midfielder, as the Reds’ gaffer, Jurgen Klopp, was looking to reinforce his midfield. If Kante does decide to look for a new home in the UK, Manchester United is another potential club, and he’d add depth and options to the team. Alternatively, he may stay in London and set up camp with Arsenal, providing Miquel Arteta with the first-class support he needs after the plague of injuries at the club.
What does Kante bring to the team?
Kante has displayed fantastic ability and given wonderful performances in the centre of Chelsea’s midfield. His value to the team was recognised in the first game of the 2021/22 season when he started with the captain’s armband for the second time.
One thing that many consider Kante to be is something of a destroyer in the midfield. He’s there to shut down opposition attacks in the central third of the pitch, no matter where they come from. It’s a role he performs very effectively.
Kante brings outstanding defensive play to the team. His tackling is clean, and he can play both vertically and defensively. He also seems to have a somewhat inexhaustible supply of energy and tirelessly covers every blade of grass on the pitch. He thinks nothing of running end to end, and he’s made some big tackles on the edge of the penalty area to thwart and frustrate opponents.
When he’s allowed to roam freely around the pitch, Kante comes into his own. His dribbling is much under-rated, and he carries the ball rely through the midfield as Chelsea push up the field. Whether passing short or long, his team mates can generally rely on the ball to reach them when it leaves his feet.
While sparkling in the midfield, one trend that the midfielder has managed to steer clear of is that of the specialist, one reminiscent of former Italian midfield ace Andrea Pirlo. Kante doesn’t just stick to locking down the midfield for Chelsea. He’s a complete player. If the manager wants him to make runs and join the attack, he’ll honour those wishes. This team player attitude is one of the many attributes that has made him such a great asset to Chelsea.
Ngolo Kante has been a tremendous addition to Chelsea, and club and fans alike will be praying he signs on that dotted line again at the end of the season for them. Chelsea are confident he will. Then he can continue to make matches at Stamford Bridge or away from them worthwhile for his team.