Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has lavished praise on N’Golo Kante amid speculation he may move to Manchester United this summer.
The 30-year-old has been a mainstay in the Stamford Bridge side since joining from Leicester City for a fee in the range of £32 million in 2016. He won the Champions League and the Premier League and was named the PFA ‘Player of the Year’ in 2017.
For many, Kante is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and that sentiment is shared by Thomas Tuchel. The Chelsea boss has said that Kante is just as important to the Blues as the likes of Mohamed Salah and Kylian Mbappe are to their respective teams.
He told reporters following his side’s somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw with Leicester City (via Fabrizio Romano):
“I think he is our key player – but key, key players have to be on the pitch and he only plays 40% of games. He is our Mo Salah, van Dijk. He is our Kylian Mbappé.”
There has been speculation that new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag may be set to move for the Frenchman. According to the Mirror, Ten Hag is keen to have Kante be part of his summer overhaul at Old Trafford.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Kante has made 259 appearances, scoring 13 goals and providing 15 assists.
Transfermarkt values the midfielder at £45 million with just a year left to run on his current deal with Chelsea.
N’Golo Kante remains tight-lipped over his Chelsea future
The French midfielder has not had one of his best seasons in west London, having rotated with the likes of Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek throughout.
However, Kante hasn’t moved to play down speculation of a move to Manchester United.
He spoke to Sky Sports where he touched on concentrating on being part of the Chelsea side for this season before anything else, (via Mirror):
“The only thing is sure that I have one more year and the only thing is to finish this season. I’ll think about it in the right time.”
If a move did come to fruition, it would hold similarities to the way in which Nemanja Matic departed Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford in 2017. Having had huge success with the Blues during a three-year spell which included a Premier League title win, Matic left for United but hasn’t won a trophy since.
Kante will be part of a huge transformation the Red Devils are set to undergo under Ten Hag if he makes the switch. He may just be the defensive midfielder the United side have yearned for for many years.