N'Golo Kante is English football's best central midfielder. This was proved once again on Monday evening as he went head to head with Manchester United’s Paul Pogba – the world’s most expensive player at £90 million.
Kante has often provided the platform for others to steal the headlines over the past couple of seasons, but he is finally starting to get the credit he deserves – the opposite of Pogba right now.
The ex-Leicester City star’s contribution to Chelsea is monumental but it rarely brings goals. This changed on Monday evening as his 25-yard strike in the 51st minute settled a hotly-contested FA Cup quarter final tie in Chelsea’s favour at Stamford Bridge.
It was Kante’s second goal in two games against Manchester United as the midfielder fast develops into the perfect all-round midfielder – winning and now using the ball brilliantly.
United started the game well, pressing Chelsea high up the pitch, but the home side took over after Ander Herrera’s red card in the first half. Kante, in particular dominated the middle of the park. He was everywhere.
Kante is unlikely to ever get sent off in a Chelsea shirt as he rarely needs to fly into tackles due to the ease in which he covers the pitch. He makes football look so effortless as he finds himself in the right positions throughout the 90 minutes, both with possession and without.
Antonio Conte has said it is unfair to compare Pogba and Kante as players, but the latter has certainly grown and shown his best form after his move to Stamford Bridge. Pogba hasn't done the same since his return to Old Trafford from Juventus.
Pogba didn’t have a bad game against Chelsea, but he was forced to sacrifice himself once again – especially after Herrera’s sending off.
The ex-Juve star probably can't wait for international duty at the end of the month where he will get to play alongside Kante rather than chase him as he did for long periods on Monday.
The £30m that Chelsea paid for Kante is looking like the bargain of the season. The midfielder deserves to clean up all of the player of the year prizes this campaign and is surely now worth at least three times that amount now. If Pogba is worth £90m, then Kante most certainly is, too.