Despite PSG’s Qatari owners spending vast sums on world-class talent like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Thiago Silva, since they bought the club in 2011, they have never been more than Champions League pretenders.
This summer they can change that with the signing of one man: N’Golo Kante.
Kante is better than any other player in the world in his midfield position; one of the most important positions on the pitch.
Just ask yourself these questions.
Is there any midfield player that wins as many tackles and intercepts as many passes as Kante?
Is there any midfield player that has more tactical awareness and reads the game better than Kante?
The simple answers are No and No.
The answers to those questions alone show how influential he is. The legendary Arsene Wenger once said that ‘he is one of the most influential midfielders I’ve seen play football.’ The praise for Kante doesn’t just stop there. He is so effective in his midfield role there has been many Kante-related memes. The most famous stating ‘30% of the Earth is covered by water and the other 70% is covered by Kante’. This meme has been hugely popular on social media since his breakthrough season in 2015-2016 with Leicester. How many other midfielders do you see with memes about their influence on matches as you do with him? None.
Kante’s influence over the teams he has played for cannot be understated. He was the leader of a Leicester team who miraculously won the Premier League title in 2015-216. Remember the odds for Leicester to win the league that year were 1000-1 before a ball was kicked. Even though other players were crucial in Leicester’s title-winning side such as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, he stood head and shoulders above them.
Kante proved the following season he was no one-season wonder despite the doubters. One man who never doubted his ability was Gary Lineker (former England and Leicester striker). Lineker tweeted before the start of the 2016-2017 ‘fancy Chelsea will now win the title. He’s that good’. So either Lineker is a psychic or he really is that good? We know which one it is because it turned out Lineker was right. Chelsea did win the league that season and he was their best player, winning both the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and Football Writers Association (FWA) Player of the Year awards. Guess what, Leicester who he left were dreadful, finishing 12th.
Despite a less successful 2017-2018 with Chelsea, Kante was still their most influential player, winning their Player of the Year award.
But it’s not just at club level where Kante has made a huge impact. Look at his performances for France since his debut in early 2016. He was France’s key midfielder as they reached the final of Euro 2016. This summer, he was France’s best player in every match he played in apart from the final, which they went on to win. The only reason he wasn’t their best player in the final was because he had a stomach bug the day of the game.
How often can you say one player, is the World Cup-winning team’s best player in 6 out of their 7 matches. You simply can’t. There is only one other World Cup in recent times where that’s happened. That was in 1986 when Diego Maradona led Argentina to World Cup glory.
Therefore Kante has proven himself to be one of the world’s most influential players in both domestic league football and in the most prestigious competition in world football.
So, not only do PSG need Kante because he is a consistent and hugely influential, world-class midfielder year after year, but they need him because what he’s best at – winning tackles, intercepting passes, being tactically aware, being defensively disciplined and reading the game –is not present in their key midfielders. In essence, he will complete their starting midfield three, making it one of, if not, Europe’s best. That’s no exaggeration just think about it. They would have his best attributes combined with Marco Verratti’s flair and passing ability and Adrien Rabiot’s strength and composure on the ball. That midfield triumvirate would be equal to Real Madrid’s current midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro who have been vital in helping them win the Champions League in each of the last three seasons.
Now all PSG need to do is come up with the money; around £100million that should be enough for Chelsea to sell. We know they can afford it. They spent around £200 million on Neymar just a year ago.
If PSG sign Kante it will be worth it come June 2019 when he leads them to Champions League glory.