When Leicester won the Premier League in 2015-16, they had a player that the mainstream football world hadn’t known about the previous summer.
N’Golo Kante, the small but powerful French defensive midfielder, signed from Caen for a modest fee, then became a key part of the Foxes team that won a historic title. The then 25-year-old, in his solitary campaign at the King Power Stadium, had redefined the art of shielding the back four, topping the charts for tackles and interceptions.
He moved to Chelsea the next summer and has continued his remarkable rise to becoming one of the best players in the world. Prior to his move to Stamford Bridge, Arsenal were linked to the player, but Arsene Wenger elected to go for Granit Xhaka.
In hindsight that seems like a mistake, although Xhaka himself arrived with the reputation of being strong in the challenge and appeared to stagnate over the last couple of years; perhaps Kante benefited from the intense coaching methods of Antonio Conte, which Wenger couldn’t quite offer.
That will change under Unai Emery. Earlier in the week, Arsenal signed Uruguayan midfielder, Lucas Torreira to add solidity to our midfield. Still only 22, the potential and ability that the player exudes is mind-boggling; he has the capacity to become one of the best players in the world.
He was excellent in the World Cup as Uruguay reached the quarterfinals, only to lose to France and was signed from Sampdoria in a €30m deal.
He has been compared to Kante, even if he may not yet be considered to be at the same level as the Chelsea man because he has not yet proven himself in the Premier League, or received global recognition. Torreira and Kante are almost the same height, are combative and take delight in making interceptions and timely tackles.
According to Squawka, both men are almost identical in terms of stats based on last season. Kante didn’t score a goal in 33 appearances last term while Torreira found the net 4 times in 33 matches.
In terms of passing accuracy, Kante edges it. He has 89% compared to Torreira’s 87% while in terms of chances created, the Frenchman has 37 with Torreira making 4 less. In terms of defensive actions, Torreira made an average of 4 while Kante made 3 while for errors, Kante made 2 and Torreira just the solitary one.
The stats show that both men had almost similar contributions. Torreira is 22 and has massive amounts of potential; he will, we hope, fulfil that potential here at Arsenal.