The Arsenal legend Sol Campbell is currently working for Arsenal promoting this summer’s tour of Australia, and in an interview with WAToday he has confirmed that the Gunners had arranged to buy N’Golo Kante from Leicester last summer, and is at a loss to understand why the deal fell though. Kante instead moved across London to Chelsea is set for his second Premier League winners medal in two years.
Sol Campbell said: “It’s a shame, a lot of the recruiting has disappointed me in some players. Missing out on Kante was a massive thing for me. I don’t know what went on, why we didn’t get him. I think it was all set and it’s a shame because you see what he’s done at Chelsea. Those kind of things hurt me as a player, that we were so close to getting those types of players and then they go elsewhere,”
“They need somebody like a Kante. That was a real loss, they need someone like him. They might look at that area again. The centre-forward scenario, that’s not going to go away,” Campbell said. “Every time a team wins anything, you usually have three really good centre-halves. I think they need to train-up the guys there to get even better and challenge them to get better or they need to bring in another established centre halves.”
A couple of weeks ago, a French expert also confirmed that Arsenal were in the running for Kante, and also revealed that they had turned him down during his time at Caen. Julien Laurens said: “They looked closely, they went to see him at the French camp – Arsene went to see him a lot. They just didn’t think he had enough to make it into their team and then it was too late.
“Then they tried to sign him last summer and he decided to go to Chelsea.
“It’s a weird one, but again I don’t know why bigger clubs weren’t there when he was at Caen because it was so obvious [signing Kante].”
So how different would our season have been if we had got Kante AND Xhaka to sort out our midfield? And the question must be asked… Why did we lose out on signing him?