Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik ten Hag backed to ditch shock Chelsea, N’Golo Kante raid for Man Utd deal with far greater upside

Man Utd forward Anthony Elanga tussling with Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante

Erik ten Hag has been told why he should abandon a reported Man Utd move for Chelsea ace N’Golo Kante despite a report claiming a deal is there for the making.

The Mirror recently claimed that Old Trafford could be Kante’s next destination. The French midfielder, 31, will have just one year remaining on his Chelsea contract when the current campaign concludes.

Kante has been everything Chelsea fans could’ve hoped for and more since arriving from Leicester in 2016. However, injuries have begun to take their toll in recent times.

The idea of Chelsea freshening up their midfield has regularly been floated of late. Conor Gallagher may be retained at Stamford Bridge next season, while Monaco destroyer Aurelien Tchouameni remains a target.

Tchouameni was also listed by the Mirror as being on Man Utd’s radar when detailing their interest in Kante.

However, given Kante’s advancing age and contract status, he would represent a far cheaper option when compared to Tchouameni, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and Frenkie de Jong, for example.

Incoming boss Erik ten Hag must revamp his midfield this summer. Paul Pogba will leave for free and is in talks with Juventus. Nemanja Matic too has seen a parting of the ways sanctioned.

But according to former Premier League striker Noel Whelan, Manchester United will do well to steer clear of Kante.

Pointless signing Kante for two years – Whelan

Whelan acknowledged Kante’s status as one of the modern greats when labelling him “exceptional”. However, he insists Ten Hag should not commence his rebuild at Old Trafford by signing injury-prone players already over 30.

“I’d like to see Man United looking to bring in much younger players,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“I don’t see the point of getting players in who are 31 or 32. They need freshening up all over the park, and to do that they need to get young talent through the door.

“Don’t get me wrong, N’Golo Kante is an exceptional player. He can still be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League on his day.

“But what is the point of signing players for two years?

“It’ll take a transfer fee – and they won’t get anything back for him in a couple of years.

“The fans will like to think Ten Hag is looking to build something for the future rather than just looking for a quick fix.”

Man Utd raid on Chelsea a mistake?

Kante would add steel and bite to United’s midfield. However, he has amassed just 24 league appearances this season with injuries beginning to take hold.

Indeed, groin and knee injuries ruled him out of five games in the first half of the season. He recently missed the FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool with another injury which Chelsea haven’t specified the nature of.

Whelan’s point about Kante lacking a re-sale value is important too. While United are the biggest club in England in many people’s eyes, they cannot afford to play fast and loose in the market as they once did.

Liverpool have mastered how to navigate through the windows, while Man City set a new British transfer record last year for Jack Grealish.

Newcastle are now the richest club in the world by a huge margin, and long gone are the days of United being able to blow their rivals out of the water financially.

A move for Kante therefore makes little sense in our eyes. Instead, their reported raid on Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong, 25, looks a far smarter transaction.