N’Golo Kante is set to leave Chelsea after spending seven seasons with the club and eight in the Premier League. His time at Chelsea has been nothing short of remarkable, winning a host of trophies including back-to-back Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the Europa League, the Super Cup, the World Club Cup, and most notably, the 2021 Champions League, where he was named man of the match in the final against Manchester City.
Kante’s £30 million signing from Leicester in 2016 is undoubtedly one of the best pieces of business in Chelsea’s history. He has been the club’s one truly world-class player across his entire spell at Stamford Bridge and the most popular player inside and outside the dressing room. Off the pitch, Kante is known for his humble and down-to-earth personality. His former teammates have spoken highly of his character, recalling only one instance when he was late for training or a team meeting, which was due to a car accident. Kante’s trademark white Mini, parked alongside the fleet of supercars at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, has become a symbol of his modesty.
Despite his humble nature, Kante is a world-class player who has impressed several top managers. Former Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte once said, “He is amazing with and without the ball. When you have N’Golo in your team, you can think you are playing with one player more.” Current manager Thomas Tuchel went even further, calling him “our key, key, key player… the guy who makes the difference” and comparing him to the likes of Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Kevin De Bruyne, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.
During the 2021 Champions League run, Chelsea were very much the “N’Golo Kante Club,” with the Frenchman being instrumental in their success. Kante’s performances in both legs of the semi-final success against Real Madrid and in the second leg of the last-16 victory over Atletico Madrid were particularly impressive. Kante’s lack of appearances due to injuries was a significant factor in Chelsea’s poor 2021-22 season, where they finished in 12th place.
Kante’s move to Saudi Club Al Ittihad is reportedly worth £86 million per season. Playing alongside Karim Benzema will offer the Frenchman an opportunity to make his mark in another league. Chelsea’s new head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who wanted to sign Kante for Paris Saint-Germain, will be disappointed not to get the chance to work with one of the best midfielders of the modern era.
N’Golo Kante will be departing Chelsea as a humble legend and a player who nobody, not even Guardiola, could bypass. His departure will leave a significant void at Chelsea, one that will be difficult to fill. With his impressive track record and character, Kante will undoubtedly continue to make waves in the football world.