According to a report from Football.London, one of the early transfers under the reign of Mauricio Pochettino, appears to be an outgoing move, as N’Golo Kante has reportedly reached an agreement to join Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad. Initially, it seemed that Kante would extend his contract at Stamford Bridge under Pochettino’s management.
However, both parties failed to reach an agreement, paving the way for the Saudi Arabian champions to make an extraordinary offer. The midfielder has now signed a two-year deal, with the possibility of an additional season, and will earn a staggering €100 million (£86m) per season.
Kante’s Injury-Plagued Campaign With Chelsea
Kante has endured a tough campaign at the West London club as he has struggled to be a consistent performer for them at the centre of the park after remaining injured for most of the season. The 32-year-old has failed to be productive and picked up just an assist in 9 matches for Chelsea this season across various competitions.
The French sensation deserves some credit after averaging 2.3 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 0.3 clearances, 1.1 shots, 1.9 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per 90 minutes in Premier League football. He has even been tidy with his ball distribution after completing 82.5% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).
How Will Chelsea Fill The Void?
Strengthening the midfield has appeared to be a key objective for Chelsea this summer, making the departure of N’Golo Kante a significant setback. However, it’s important to consider the context that Kante missed a considerable portion of the 2022/23 season due to injury, which mitigates the disappointment of his departure.
As a result, the Blues are likely to face the upcoming campaign without their influential midfield maestro, as Kante successfully completed his medical with Al Ittihad earlier this afternoon in London. This development emphasizes the need for the club to find suitable alternatives to fill the void left by Kante’s absence.
Kante continues to showcase his prowess as a reliable ball tackler, swiftly identifying potential threats and reclaiming possession for his team in the midfield. He fearlessly challenges opponents and possesses the vision to execute impactful passes in the attacking areas. Moreover, Kante demonstrates his ability to unleash powerful and accurate shots from a distance, highlighting his shooting proficiency. Additionally, he showcases his aptitude for dribbling, making him a well-rounded player in possession of the ball.
Enzo Fernandez has promising midfield talents within the current squad who can step up and contribute to filling the void left by Kante, but even the Argentine isn’t a solution to the defensive part. The Blues will need to find a better replacement for Kante in order to bridge the gap between offence and defence.