Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel could well face a tough decision over the future of N’Golo Kante over the coming season.
The Frenchman, whilst having been a key player at Stamford Bridge since his 2016 arrival from Leicester City, sees his contract edging towards expiry.
He has just a year-and-a-half remaining on his current deal and with the player set to turn 31 later this season, Chelsea could well be apprehensive to tie him down to a lengthy contract.
Meanwhile, Kante seemingly has plenty of suitors, with Real Madrid having been linked with a swoop for his services in the past.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Chelsea would be willing to part with the World Cup winner any time soon but should they make the decision to sell, it appears that they have already found his natural successor.
The Blues have been linked with Monaco youngster Aurelien Tchouameni for some time, with rumours over a switch to Stamford Bridge having been a constant figure since last summer.
In fact, he was a name mentioned strongly alongside Saul Niguez as potential midfield recruits, Chelsea eventually electing to sign the latter on-loan from Atletico Madrid.
That has not halted the rumours of Chelsea’s interest in Tchouameni, however. teamTALK have claimed that the Blues are already doing the groundwork on a deal that would see him switch to Stamford Bridge next summer.
Should that be the case, the Blues will have a player of some considerable quality on their hands.
According to WhoScored, Tchouameni is already outperforming Kante in the departments he has become famed for – his defensive work.
The Monaco starlet averages 2.5 tackles, 2.2 interceptions and 0.9 clearances per game this season, Kante’s numbers sitting at just 1.7, 0.6 and 0.4 respectively, albeit in a hugely disrupted season thus far.
It is not just in his defensive work where Tchouameni is sparkling however, he is also impressive in his all-around play, too.
He is averaging more shots per game – 1.9 to 0.3 – whilst having a better pass success rate than Kante at 87.4% compared to 85.6%.
It is no surprise to learn that the 21-year-old has modelled his game on Kante, as well as Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
Talking in a press conference earlier this season, the £31m-rated midfielder said: “Honestly, as I said in the previous interviews, I followed a lot of what Paul [Pogba] was doing since he started his career.
“Now I have the chance to be with him and N’Golo [Kante]. They are players who are very successful at their clubs, so I try to see what they do and take inspiration from their strong characteristics.”
Of course, Chelsea will only learn the real influence of Tchouameni should they elect to sign him but it will certainly be useful to know that they have already found a player that can pick up the considerable mantle of Kante should he leave at any point in the future.
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