Martin Keown has likened Chelsea midfielder Ngolo Kante to Arsenal legends Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira.
The French midfielder was instrumental in helping the Blues to Champions League glory this season, putting in Man of the Match performances in both semi-final legs against Real Madrid before putting in another powerful display against Manchester City in the final.
Some circles are now talking about the defensive midfielder in contention for this season’s Ballon D’Or, although there is still another half-season and a European Championships for other players to stake their claim for the title.
While the superlatives pour in for Kante, a player Arsenal painfully turned down in favour of signing Granit Xhaka as confirmed by Dick Law to the DailyMirror, Keown has moved to liken his role to that previously employed at Arsenal in Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva.
‘Right now, there is not a finer defensive midfielder in the world than the all-action Kante,’ Keown wrote in the DailyMail. ‘Is he the best ever? That is hard to say. You could definitely make a case.
“I was blessed to play behind Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Those players provide you with pure protection and you feel safer with them in front of you. Kante gives that to this Chelsea defence.
‘Maurizio Sarri tried playing him in a different position but Thomas Tuchel is playing him where he is at his best. Not only do we have to say Leicester found a gem in Kante but Chelsea got an absolute bargain when they spent £32 million on him in 2016.
‘The Blues had just finished 10th in the Premier League, remember, so were not even in Europe. Yet while other sides went to sleep, Chelsea signed a world beater. Every team in Europe would love to have this midfielder, with a twin engine, starting for them now.
‘Kante would have been warned to watch out for Ilkay Gundogan arriving late in the box. So he would have been astonished to see City’s top scorer in the distance, having been deployed as their deepest midfield player.
‘Now 30, Kante has won Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and World Cup medals.
‘He is, quite simply, one of the game’s greats.’
Where does Kante rank amongst the Premier League’s best ever midfielders such as Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva?