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N’Golo Kanté one of three on Real Madrid wishlist — report

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Back to the future!

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus

The long-term future of Chelsea’s highest paid and nigh indispensable player over the past four seasons, N’Golo Kanté is unfortunately unknown. The 29-year-old, who has three years left on his contract, has been sidelined or slowed by a series of injuries over the past twelve months. Even when fit, similar Sarri-ball-era questions have been asked about Lampard’s use of Kanté in a midfield-three, rather than the universally agreed best position for him, the midfield-two (i.e. pivot).

The Athletic even put together some rudimentary stats to show the decline in the once ridiculous midfielder (in a good way), who not too long ago won the Premier League twice in a row, with two different teams, then helped France to a World Cup trophy as well.

Some have whispered it quietly that we might have seen the last of Kanté as a true midfield force. Real Madrid must not have heard those whispers, as they’ve been re-linked by the Spanish media, specifically Diario AS, and not for the first time.

According to the report, Zinedine Zidane wants a player who can deputize for Casemiro, someone who can add steel to the Real Madrid midfield. While Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde are undoubtedly good players, they are not exactly the type who can shield the defense and Zidane wants a player "with muscle” to strengthen the defensive midfield position.

Kante’s not the only player on the shortlist though, with Eduardo Camavinga and Boubakary Soumare mooted as alternative targets. Their prices are said to be €80m, €45m-€50m and €24.5m respectively, but I wouldn’t take that part too seriously. Camavinga is said to be Zidane’s favorite over the other two and his relatively cheaper price and younger age would certainly make him a better fit.

As for Kanté, while his recurring injuries have made him a shadow of his former self, he is still our best player when he is in full flow. While he has been absent for most of this season, he still might have a lot to contribute in the future still. Should Chelsea really take a massive gamble by selling him?