Leicester City are just 3 points away from being crowned as the new Premier League Champions and completing the most remarkable football story of all time. Much of their title push is built around a mean defense and energetic midfield with N’Golo Kante being the key enforcer.
Kante leads Premier League charts for most interceptions and most tackles this season and has been the shield for his defense. While Kante’s main job is to protect Leicester’s back-four, he is not bad going forward either. He keeps running up and down the field throughout the 90 minutes and has been the most important player for Leicester this season.
That is why Claudio Ranieri will find it very difficult when he tries to find an apt replacement for the French dynamite this summer. Kante is linked with almost every top team in the world and has made clear to his ambitions to play at even higher level.
It would leave a big hole in Leicester’s midfield next season, which they would have to fill at any cost. On that note, we take a look at the five possible replacements for N’Golo Kante which Leicester must consider next season.
Victor Wanyama (Southampton)
Perhaps the closest Premier League fit to Kante would be Southampton’s Victor Wanyama. The Kenyan International is a tenacious tackler and is good on the ball as well. His defensive work rate has been a key factor in Southampton’s good form in last couple of seasons.
Wanyama is also linked with a move to Arsenal and Tottenham in the summer, however, Leicester would be happy to go to a bidding war fort the Saints star on the back of €38million demands for Kante’s transfer.
Another reason why Ranieri would prefer Wanyama ahead of rest of the options is his experience of playing in the 4-4-2. Ronald Koeman has often used Wanyama in a 2-man midfield which has been Leicester’s strength this season.
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)
Don’t eyeball our selection, it could be a real possibility given how Nemanja Matic has been sidelined in recent months. The Serbian has failed to get a start in Chelsea’s midfield after falling behind John Obi Mikel in the pecking order.
Incoming Chelsea manager is keen to sign Radja Nainggolan in the summer which would all but end Matic’s stay at Stamford Bridge. It was not long ago, Matic was Premier League’s most effective central midfield player and led Chelsea to the 2014/15 league title.
Matic’s numbers last season were very similar to Kante’s exploits this season and that is why he could be the ideal replacement for Kante when he leaves King Power Stadium later this summer. Leicester’s Champions League pull could be enough to lure Matic away from Stamford Bridge.
Giannelli Imbula (Stoke City)
Speaking of Leicester’s Champions League powers they can use it to lure Stoke City’s sensation Giannelli Imbula to King Power Stadium next season.
Stoke’s record signing has left an immediate impact on Premier League fans and critics after some energetic performances this season. However, his personal performances have not coincided with Stoke’s form in recent weeks.
He is just 23 and is keen to play football at the highest levels. For a brief spell this season, it looked like Stoke were challenging for Europa League finish but it has turned out to be a sorry end to the season for Mark Hughes’ team and has left future of his best players in dark.
Likes of Bojan, Shaqiri, Arnautovic and Imbula will have suitors next season and perhaps Leicester would act quickly in signing Imbula to replace the outgaining N’Golo Kante in the summer.
William Carvalho (FC Porto)
Enough of Premier League options let’s go global, shall we? Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho is well known to Premier League fans after the talented Portuguese has been constantly linked with a move to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool for last couple of seasons.
Despite sending scouts time and time again, Premier League clubs have failed to put a solid offer for the Portuguese star. Perhaps Leicester could get their shrewd scouting team to work on the deal and sign Carvalho to step in to be an able replacement for departing Kante.
Carvalho will be one of the stars at Euro 2016 and that is why signing him now would make more sense for Leicester or any other potential suitor.
Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach)
This would be really fascinating if Leicester can pull off a deal to sign Granit Xhaka who has declared his intentions of leaving Bundesliga in the summer.
Liverpool and Arsenal are also linked with the £35million rated midfielder but are hesitant in splashing that kind of sum for the Swiss ace. While Arsenal and Liverpool may have other options at disposal, Leicester are in desperate need to buy a midfielder who can fill the void left behind by N’golo Kante’s departure.
Given the kind of season Leicester have had, it would be hard for them to replicate their feat given the rumoured departure of their key stars this summer. Claudio Ranieri must rely on smart signings and similar playing style to stay close to the top of Premier League table next season.