Manchester United and new manager Erik ten Hag have identified Chelsea midfielder and former PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante as a potential transfer target this Summer, according to Laurie Whitwell, a Manchester United beat writer for The Athletic. Kante has one year remaining on his contract with the Blues, but could leave a year sooner for the right price.
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According to Whitwell’s report, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is looking to shake up his midfield options before next season, and the club might be willing to accept a reduced price offer for Kante. This makes sense with new ownership coming in. Tuchel is likely to have a new war chest to work with, and with Kante struggling to stay fit over the course of the season there are indications he is on the decline.
Concerns over Kante’s longevity should be on ten Hag’s mind as he and John Murtough consider this deal. Nemanja Matic comparisons are sure to come up, and fair or not his fitness was a hinderance to United’s midfield for most of his time at Old Trafford. Investing heavily in a player who has just turned 31 comes with a cost, especially for a team that needs long term solutions at the midfield position. He managed to play 40+ games the last two seasons at a high level, and was crucial in Chelsea winning the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League last year, but his class as a player isn’t the concern.
If Kante can be brought in for a cheap fee, and is one of several new midfielders, then a deal could be a nice boost for United. But if Kante goes for near the same fee as Matic did the club are asking for trouble.