After a dreadful season, Chelsea are in need of a huge revival this summer. It’s clear that upgrades are needed, and that task is in the hands of self-proclaimed maniac Antonio Conte. A key position he must look to bolster is central midfield.
The Blues’ first choice midfielders, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, looked nothing like the players they were in the 2014/15 season. Fabregas’ defensive ability came under huge scrutiny last year and his future at Chelsea undeniably lies in a more advanced role. Matic’s tendency to go missing in games often left a gaping hole in front of the back four. It is also rumoured, the Serbian international is at the top of Jose Mourinho’s wish list at Old Trafford.
That is why, Conte will be looking at options to fill the void. The two emerging names rumoured to be making the move to Stamford Bridge are N’Golo Kante and Radja Nainggolan.
N’Golo Kante was the workhorse in Leicester’s title-winning side last season. He made the most interceptions and won the most tackles out of all players in the Premier League.
And for a manager like Conte, who thrives on defensive stability, Kante would be a perfect addition to act as a shield in front of the defence.
Conte also likes to use attacking full-backs, so Kante’s abundance of energy would allow him to cover if they are caught high up the pitch. The 25 year-old, alongside Danny Drinkwater, outplayed all of the ‘big teams’ midfielders.
Chelsea however, must act fast. A host of top clubs around Europe are preparing to offer Kante an extensive pay rise and also, Champions League football, something Chelsea can not. In addition, he is currently playing for France on home soil in the 2016 European Championships and has made the most passes throughout the tournament.
This form could soon see his £20 million price tag rise.
Radja Nainggolan has been rumoured to be joining Chelsea ever since it was announced Conte would take charge.
The Roma man operates in a slightly more attacking role than Kante but that does not take anything away from his defensive qualities.
Nainggolan has often been described as a ‘pit bull’ and is a more all-rounded midfielder than Fabregas and Matic are. He is also someone Conte will know well, as the current Italian manager spent 3 years in charge of Juventus, one of Nainggolan’s club Roma’s rivals.
He is a more potent threat in front of goal than Kante is, scoring 6 goals last season.
But the Belgian, also currently at Euro 2016, is less likely to be making a move this summer. Roma recently sold Miralem Pjanic to Juventus and would be seriously short if they let Nainggolan leave too. The 28 year-old has a steeper price tag, of £35 million, than Kante does as well.
Overall, a deal for both is possible, but one or the other is most likely. Kante would add more stability to The Blues and is also a lot cheaper than Nainggolan, who is 3 years senior of the Frenchman. It may also be a sign, that Kante has drawn comparisons to Claude Makelele, a former Blue…