Andrey Santos – or a €15m signing – could benefit from Kante’s decision to leave – opinion

N’Golo Kante’s departure was all but confirmed last night. So where does that leave Chelsea’s midfield? If Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also complete their rumoured transfers away, it will leave a midfield totally gutted, with Jorginho having departed in January and Denis Zakaria’s loan ended.

By all accounts Kante was happy to stay, and had an agreement with Chelsea. But the sheer cash on offer in Saudi Arabia was too much for him to turn down.

The club were expecting him to stay until recently, and one can only imagine they are now looking to sign two midfielders, not just one. There is an alternative, however. Andrey Santos is expected to get his work permit to play next season, and while he might not be ready to start just yet, he could happily back up Enzo Fernandez and whatever other player we sign this summer to play alongside him. Conor Gallagher could also be used in a deeper role than last season if needed.

Cesare Casadei is a more raw option – but let’s not forget he was a €15m signing a year ago and needs to step up at some point. One of the two looks more likely than ever to stick around, especially if the sell off continues from the senior squad.

Santos will need to adapt to England, but in terms of quality he looks ready to at least be a backup.

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