£390,000 a week will struggle to replace these two tactical weapons midfielder brought to Chelsea – opinion

It was confirmed by Fabrizio Romano last night that N’Golo Kante is on the verge of joining Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.

The midfielder had seemed content to stay at Chelsea until his head was turned recently by some eye watering offers.

It’s a blow to our plans – we wanted to keep the France international on an incentive based contract – but moving on might be useful too. We have to blow the whole thing up, may as well finish the job all at once.

We will certainly need to find a talented ball winner to replace him, and one who can offer as much dynamic running and pressing forwards will be hard to find. Kante’s pace was such an underrated asset, and his burst of acceleration was really what made him such an effective tackler and interceptor. He read it perfectly, and then was better equipped than those around him to get to the ball.

It will be hard to find a player with those qualities, let alone the superb physicality that Kante had to complement it. Those two qualities have brought a huge amount to this team and will be impossible to replicate right away.

His wages are an enormous £390,000 a week, and that can be spent on a replacement – but it could be another painful process finding one anywhere nearly as good. Moises Caicedo is going to cost £80m – is his ceiling close to Kante’s?

1 Comment

  1. There’s simply no replacing (a healthy) Kante, but the money the Saudis are offering is, in a word, stupid and we don’t dare try to match it. For a guy who (famously) drives the same beat up Mini Cooper he bought when he arrived in England, I’d personally find it disappointing if he takes the payday and leaves. But, at the same time, given his injury rate, I can understand if he wants to secure his financial future before his time is up. Ultimately, I just find it sad that the Saudis (like the Chinese before them) think they can buy (rather than invest) their way into creating a strong domestic football league. You can somewhat understand why they’d pay Ronaldo eye-watering sums—because he puts butts in the seats with his spectacular goal-scoring—but Kante (outstanding as he is) simply isn’t the same type of draw, so it’s hard to see how the extravagant pay on offer pencils out.

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