In American Football they have an award for the Most Valuable Player. With the Super Bowl last weekend, I felt it would be topical to mention a player who must be the Premier Leagues Most Valuable Player for the last two seasons.
It is the current Premier League champion, and most likely to be double Premier League Champion, N’Golo Kante. Kante played 33 of Leicester’s 38 Premier League title winning games last season.
Last season was his first season in English football, having joined in the summer of 2015 from Caen for a fee of just £5.6million, short change for the likes of of most Premier League clubs.
However, after just one year, he made the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year, narrowly losing out to team mate Riyad Mahrez. Fellow team mate, Jamie Vardy won the Football Writers Player of the Year, but it was N’Golo Kante he was the unsung hero of the season.
The Champion of England
During his one and only season with Leicester last season, he made the most tackles and interceptions of any Premier League player on his way to lifting the title in what was one of footballs greatest fairy tales.
During last season he also broke into the French national team for the first time in his career. He scored his solitary international goal on his 25th birthday, in a friendly against Russia in March last year. By the end of last season he made the French squad for the European Championship, where he had secured his place as a first team regular.
He made his competitive debut for France in the opening game of the Euro’s against Romania, where he played the full 90 minutes. He made the most passes of any player, made the most tackles, the most interceptions, covered the most distance on the pitch, and assisted the winning goal in a 2-1 victory.
He was however denied his second winners medal within two months, as the French finished as runners-up after losing 1-0 to Portugal in the final.
In the summer, Leicester reluctantly sold him to Chelsea for a massive £30million. Despite strong rumours surrounding the like of Vardy, Mahrez and Schmeichel, Kante was the only Premier League medal winner to leave Leicester’s title winning side.
However, the impact of Kante’s departure could have been more profound with Leicester are hovering precariously above the relegation places. It is tough in hindsight to feel anything other than sorry for the Premier League champions. You can’t help but think that Leicester need him this season more than they need the £25milliom profit they made on him.
So far this season, Kante has played 23 of Chelsea’s 24 Premier League games, scoring twice.
Chelsea will undoubtedly win the league giving him his second winner’s medal in two seasons. No player has won the Premier League in two consecutive seasons since Manchester United won back to back titles in 2008 and 2009.
In the last two seasons he has missed just six League matches, and so clearly doesn’t struggle with any injury, fitness or disciplinary problems. An impressive feat considering the amount of energy that Kante puts into each and every game. Name another player who for the last two seasons has been so consistent?
One thing is for sure, it’s nobody at Leicester City. Not even Vardy or Mahrez despite the personal accolades they won last season. Wes Morgan also made the PFA Team of the Year but won’t this year.
No one at Chelsea. His Chelsea team mates finished 10th in the table last year – not one of them made last year’s PFA Team of the Year.
No one at Arsenal. Possibly Harry Kane and Dele Alli at Spurs? Possibly. But not as consistently as Kante.
An amazing 18 months
Take a bow young man. It has been an amazing 18 months for you since you crossed the English Channel.
To put the record straight, N’Golo Kante weighs 68 kilograms. Today’s gold price is £31,997 per kilo which would make him worth £2.171M.
N’Golo Kante, isn’t worth his weight in gold, he is worth around 25 times more! And with the prospect of adding his second league title in two years, it seems as though the Frenchman is worth much more than his weight in Silver(wear) too.