According to reports from Spain over the past day, La Liga winners and Champions League finalists Real Madrid are set to make a shock swoop for Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.
The French international has been an influential figure in Antonio Conte’s side on their way to winning the Premier League title this season, and Don Balon are now suggesting interest is growing.
The report claims that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is wanting to add to his current squad ahead of next season’s challenge to regain the La Liga title, and Kante is top of his wishlist.
What could the Chelsea midfielder add to Madrid?
It’s common knowledge around the world that Kante is a mammoth figure in the middle of the park, epitomising the box-to-box midfielder and making it look effortless at the same time.
His ability to regain possession inside his own half – making himself look twice the size that his five-foot two-inch frame suggests – is unrivalled in the Premier League, and it’s his commitment whenever he steps on the field and his willingness to run until the end that has been so exceptional.
The statistics certainly don’t lie for the PFA player of the year winner, completing 65% of his attempted tackles this season and making 82 interceptions to help turn defence into attack fast.
His game has developed past this in the previous year spent at Stamford Bridge too, working on his passing accuracy and movement in the final third; if he carries on like this, he’ll become the complete player before too long and Chelsea will have to ward off advances from all of Europe.
Perhaps most importantly there’s a drive in the young Frenchman that can have an impact on any team; it happened to unlikely Leicester City, to Chelsea and now it could easily happen to Madrid.
When considering where he would fit in at Real Madrid, slotting into a deep defensive midfield role would suit him perfectly – particularly when surrounded by world-class players who are lightning quick on the counter – and the fast tempo of La Liga’s football would leave him right in his element.
As far as Real Madrid are concerned, no player in world football (perhaps bar any of those playing for rivals Barcelona) is out of reach and, more often than not, Los Blancos get their man.
Zidane’s thinking behind the signing of Kante is that, alongside Toni Kroos and Luca Modric, it could produce a really fearsome trio in the middle of the park that complement each other well.
With Casemiro the only real defensive midfielder in the ranks at the Bernabeu at the minute, the Madrid boss is looking to make a world-class addition to act as cover for his esteemed back-four. Yet Kante has only spent one year at Stamford Bridge since moving from Leicester City last summer and it would seem extremely irrational if he were to move again to the Bernabeu.
With Chelsea building up a strong side – and a lot of momentum under Conte – they will be a real force in Europe next year, and are highly expected to challenge on the domestic front again too. The only thing that Madrid can offer him is the status that comes with playing football in the Spanish capital, but that is unlikely to be enough to sway the 26-year-old into a move away from London.