Perhaps it was a case of love at first sight. Or perhaps the luck of the draw. Either way, whatever or whoever made N’Golo Kanté pick Chelsea out of every other club interested in his services back in 2016 is something we should always be grateful for.
It has been two years and two months since the deal that would completely change the course of Chelsea history. Along with new coach Antonio Conte, Kanté would combine with the first-team squad to win the league title in his debut season. Individual accolades were plenty, and even under the shiniest limelight he stayed humble and true to his cause.
Soon came the calls for him to be a central cog of France’s national team. The 2014 version needed something to cement their structure, and that “thing” was the force of nature that is the diminutive central midfielder. Result? Becoming world champions in July this year, adding the much sought-after second star on top of their crest 20 years after their first title.
But much earlier than that, we had heard rumours that Paris Saint-Germain had made Kanté a priority for the summer. ‘Financial Fair Play be damned!’, the Parisiens (probably) said as they prepared to pay a king’s ransom for the world-class midfielder just one season after breaking the world record transfer fee by spending €222 milllion on Neymar, and shelling out €190 million for Kylian Mbappé this year.
Their director Antero Henrique tried his best to pry Kanté. Multiple meetings with representatives took place, and the French newspapers — especially the ones from Paris —were getting on their crusade. All to no avail.
“There was no urge to go elsewhere after the World Cup.”
“There were other clubs’ interests but after talking to Chelsea, things were clear. The club is counting on me and I feel good. The next logical step was to continue to Chelsea.”
“There were some contacts [from PSG]. But after a discussion with Chelsea, I realised that the main thing was to feel good where I was.”
“I am at Chelsea. It’s good for me to stay at Chelsea.”
-N’Golo Kanté; source: RMC Sport via Sky Sports
Sucks to be you, PSG.