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More important than Conte – Why Chelsea can’t afford to lose their £110,000-a-week beast this summer

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Over the last two years, N’Golo Kante has been one of the driving forces behind Chelsea’s success. You could say he is a pure reincarnation of Claude Makelele from back in the day.

The 27-year-old, who earns £110,000-a-week joined Chelsea from Leicester City two years ago and has since gone on to establish himself as one of the best players in the world. He was won the Premier League twice, the first one coming with Leicester in their fairytale season and the second with Chelsea. The midfielder also won the PFA Player of the Season in the 2016-17 season, such is his influence in the squad.

Chelsea endured a disappointing campaign last season as they finished in the 5th spot, meaning they must settle for playing in the Europa League next year. There have been concerns over the future of manager Antonio Conte, who could face the sack. Club owner Roman Abramovich is known for his ruthless history of sacking managers the minute they begin to underperform.

Funnily enough, Conte has the best win ratio of any Chelsea manager so far, which stands at 70.3%. Nevertheless, his future is certainly up in the air and so is Kante’s with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly tracking the midfielder.

If Chelsea are to get back to their best, they must hold onto at least one of these two. The duo has been crucial but if the chips were down and you had to pick between the two, the obvious choice would be Kante anyday.

Kante has been a revelation for this Chelsea side, a messiah of sorts. He is full of energy and passion, which is the driving force behind his performance. He is a menace in midfield, often praised for his work ethic and relentless stamina. Frankly speaking, if it weren’t for Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko would have been severely exposed.

When it comes to tackles and interceptions, Kante is second to none. The former Caen man made 415 tackles and 323 interceptions in the league last season. He is a road-runner of sorts, who is willing to cover every inch of grass to retrieve the ball. No player is safe with Kante on the loose.

Hence, Kante is a gem of a player and it’s not often that a player like him comes by. Chelsea must view him in the same bracket as Eden Hazard now. He is as important as the Belgian at Stamford Bridge, probably even higher. Chelsea are used to managers exiting all the time but the departure of Kante could do some damage to the team.

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