Arsenal remain very interested in Leicester City star N’Golo Kante despite the arrival of Granit Xhaka according to the reliable Kike Marin. It has been heavily reported Arsenal will make a move for him this summer after a very impressive debut season in the Premier League.
The Gunners have been linked with the French international since the season ended and it was thought the signing of Xhaka, which was confirmed last week would stop any interest in Kante, but Kike Marin has today tweeted that there is still very strong interest in Kante with the Gunners ready to meet his reported £20million release clause.
Kante was at the heart of Leicester City’s miracle title win this season and his desire and never give up attitude in midfield has caught the eye of many teams around Europe, including France manager Didier Deschamps who has included Kante in the France squad for the Euros this summer.
Kante, who has been likened to Claude Makelele had a remarkable season with Leicester City, his presence in midfield was too much for the opposition to cope with and his non-stop energy and running often helped Leicester defensively. Kante was certainly Leicester City’s unsung hero this season, his main attributes this season were his energy in midfield and also his interceptions. Kante managed 4.64 interceptions per 90 minutes which is astonishing and this really helped his team in tight games in midfield. Another reason he was arguably the best midfielder in the league last season is the amount of tackles he won, winning 3.72 per 90 minutes which is near perfect for any midfielder in such a hard league. His athleticism allowed him to be everywhere on the pitch which helped Leicester win the ball back so efficiently. Kante was named in the 2016 PFA team of the year which was certainly deserved and also made his France debut after a sublime season.
After the arrival of Granit Xhaka, if Arsenal were to also sign N’Golo Kante then it must surely mean Arsenal have to sell a midfielder to accommodate everyone.
Jack Wilshere told media recently that he prefers to play for England as they let him play in his natural position. This could certainly cause an uproar at Arsenal as they have stayed very loyal to the injury struck midfielder who has only two years left on his contract. Wilshere has played wide for Arsenal in recent games to help accommodate everyone in the team, he has certainly made it clear he doesn’t like playing there and if Arsenal were to sign Kante, Wilshere would certainly have to think where his long-term future lies with long-term admirers Manchester City thought to be interested in the Englishmen again this summer. Wilshere will certainly be in the same position as Ramsey who both don’t like playing wide, new signing Xhaka will start and only one of them will play centrally alongside him, a healthy battle for Arsenal but the players will certainly not like the idea of playing wide and fighting for the CM position.
Like Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey has also publicly said he does not like playing wide as it is not his natural position. Arsene Wenger has liked to use Ramsey wide this season and it is thought Ramsey is not happy about it. Although Ramsey got a run in the team in central midfield due to the injuries to Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin he certainly didn’t do enough to warrant a start there every week. In fact, when he was moved back to the wing against Tottenham Hotspur away he scored a class goal and was arguably the best player on the pitch. Ramsey also this week said he likes the idea of playing in La Liga which is the second time he has said it. Maybe Gareth Bale’s tapping him up on International duty is playing a part but after being given the number 8 shirt by Arsenal it could well mean his future lies in central midfield for the Gunners.
Arsenal had only one natural defensive midfielder before the signing of Granit Xhaka. Francis Coquelin nailed down that position but his game is limited. His passing ability is not of the standard required and he will certainly play as back up to Xhaka who has class defensive abilities as well as passing contribution. If Arsenal are to sign N’golo Kante then surely it could be the end of Coquelin at Arsenal after a lengthy eight years stay with the Gunners. Arsene Wenger has shown great faith in Coquelin in the last two seasons but if Ramsey and Wilshere manage to stay fit they will certainly get the nod before Coquelin, who is likely to be behind Xhaka in the pecking order and could be ever further down the line if Kante does sign for the Gunners.
Arsenal will have to move fast if they are to sign Kante, Kike also reported new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is also a massive fan and could rival Arsenal for his signature this summer. Arsenal fans wanted change with the protest “time for change” at Arsenal, and it looks likely change will happen this summer in terms of personnel. The arrival of Kante could put the end to some fans favourite players but if the club want to move forward it may be a risk they have to take.