Would fresh start bring N’Golo Kante’s smile back?

In 2018, N’Golo Kante stood at the top of the world. A year out from becoming a two-time Premier League title winner, and with an FA Cup winners’ medal tucked safely under his belt, the France international helped his country to global glory at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

More major silverware was to come, with Chelsea landing a Europa League crown in 2019 before conquering the continent with Champions League success in 2021 – which then allowed UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup triumphs to be taken in.


Fast forward to the present and life is a little less rosy for Kante. His reputation as one of the finest exponents of a holding role remains intact, but opportunities to enhance that standing in 2022-23 have proved far and few between.

Chelsea have been crying out for a reliable midfield mechanic to keep them ticking over, but a French superstar has spent more time in the treatment room than the engine one. Said absences have contributed to the Blues enduring a humbling fall from grace that has them priced at 25/1 in Premier League betting odds relating to top-four finishes.

Big money has been invested at Stamford Bridge across the last two transfer windows, but fresh faces have done little to aid the collective cause. A few familiar ones have also found the going tough at times, with Kante very much falling into that category.

There is, however, every chance that the former Leicester man will be taking his considerable talents away from west London in the summer of 2023. No definitive decision has been made yet regarding plans for the short and long-term future.

Kante’s contract is running down, of that there is no doubt, and free agency beckons. Graham Potter, with more pressing business on his plate at present, has attempted to steer around the issue of an expiring deal. He has said of Kante: “My focus is just to get him back fit as soon as possible. Everyone knows his quality, it’s just getting back on the pitch playing football.”

Will minutes in the final months of the current campaign be enough to deliver fresh terms? There has been more than enough speculation to suggest that they will not, with reports claiming that Chelsea’s offer of a two-year extension does not satisfy the demands of Kante and his representatives.


There has also been much talk of interest being shown from afar. As one of the best in the business when it comes to his chosen position, it comes as no surprise to find that the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are keeping a close eye on developments at Stamford Bridge.

Kante has much to mull over after spending seven years on Chelsea’s books, with his recent struggles needing to be taken into account. He has achieved just about everything with Premier League heavyweights and, with enticing approaches from mainland Europe said to be on the table, it may be that a change of scenery is the best option for a humble character eager to get a famous smile back on his face.

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