Thursday, January 21, 2021

Chelsea fan favourite likely to leave; suitors listed

Things are definitely not right in Chelsea under the Maurizio Sarri regime it could only get worse with the departure of a fan favourite.

Last summer, Chelsea ditched Antonio Conte and replaced him with Maurizio Sarri, a man wedded to attacking, cavalier football. The Blues knew what they were getting in Sarri. He believes in his tactical structure and that alone. Players may not like it, pundits may question it, but no matter the results, he will not change. And this stubbornness of his has come under scrutiny this season. After initially stringing together a series of wins, the FA Cup holders have struggled and have now dropped out of the Top 4 spots. There has also been a lot of speculation about players now trusting the manager and wanting to leave. The latest to grace the list is a fan favourite.

Kante plans life away from Stamford Bridge

N’golo Kante might not be wearing the blue of Chelsea next season according to the French media. The player, who was expected to join PSG, is set to reject an offer to move to the French capital. But French outlet Le10 Sport sa that the former Leicester man would consider offers from other Europe’s elite. The list includes the like of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. This is apparently due to the player’s ‘less than idyllic’ relationship with the Italian coach.

Sarri vs Kante

Maurizio Sarri has gone on and on about how Kante isn’t the type of player he would want playing in a deeper role. “I think, as you know, I want to play a central midfielder as a very technical player, a Jorginho or [Cesc] Fabregas,” Sarri said earlier this year. “I don’t want Kante in this position.”

But a combination of bad results and uninspired performances has led to a massive backlash. Fans and pundits alike have reminded the former Napoli boss that he isn’t helping himself by playing Kante out of his favoured position. Emmanuel Petit is the latest to have a go at Sarri. “Sarri’s decision to move Kante away from his original position, where he was probably the best in the world over the past two or three years, surprised me,” he told Paddy Power News.“Kante says he’s learning and taking pleasure in this new position. He doesn’t want to make waves – we all know in France how humble Kante is, so he will never cause trouble. But can anyone explain why you move Kante out of his best position in favour of Jorginho?”

Author’s Take

There is no denying the fact that Sarri isn’t using Kante to his fullest potential. The gulf in class between his performances in the 16/17 title winning season under Conte and this season is clear, even to the naked eye. And there are stats to back this claim.

Chelsea

Managing Chelsea in 2019 is not an easy gig. Sarri has found that out the hard way. The Blues squad needs major improvement in the summer. In the past 15 years, the club has been in a permanent state of chaos. And it has paid off rather spectacularly. Managers come and go. Players come and go. Yet, somehow, the trophy cabinet kept filling up.

However, Chelsea are now at a crossroads. Legends have moved on, replaced with inferior players. The unbreakable self-belief of previous squads has disappeared, replaced with brittleness and self-doubt. The next few months will be the Italian and his players. And players like Kante wanting to leave will certainly not help matters.

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