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Maurizio Sarri is preparing N’Golo Kante for the exact same role as Allan at Napoli

The French midfield tyro is good enough to play most positions, probably.

Some things should be treated as rare Premier League relics.

N’Golo Kante scoring in he Premier League up to now can always be counted as one.

The World Cup winning midfielder has scored just one goal per season in his time in England’s top flight, but all that could be about to change under Maurizio Sarri.

New kit, new Kante

Getty - Contributor
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New kit, new Kante

Three years ago, Leicester signed the unheard of micro-midfielder from the Caen who had just been promoted to Ligue 1 – little did they know, they would be unleashing an unrelenting runner, tackler and passer on the Premier League.

Kante quickly adapted to English football, defining Leicester’s fairy tale title win and convincing Chelsea to go big in securing his services.

It was one of the best bits of business the Londoners have done in recent seasons, sorry Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley.

Fast forward three years from Kante’s first game in the Premier League and he can now call himself a back-to-back title winner with Leicester and Chelsea, World Cup winner with France and arguably the number one player in his position in the world.

The only thing missing? Goals.

How to celebrate when you hardly ever score?

Reuters
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How to celebrate when you hardly ever score?

In fact in a seven year career so far, Kante has scored a grand total of 15 goals in 252 games.

However, with Jorginho slotting into the shield role in Sarri’s system, the Italian has big plans for Kante.

And you only have to look at Allan’s evolution at Napoli to understand Kante’s new role.

From midfield destroyer…

Reuters
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From midfield destroyer…

Before Sarri turned up at Napoli Allan had scorer a total of three goals in professional footballer in a career dating back to 2009.

The Brazilian had earned a reputation as a ball-winning midfielder, happy to sit and act as the wall that sits in front of the back four – much like Kante has done for the past three seasons.

But Sarri saw qualities in him that would enable the midfielder to move up from a midfield hacksaw to something akin to a paintbrush in the middle of the pitch.

Allan has pace, technique and an ability to dribble past players with ease – assets that consistently separated him from the Nigel De Jong school of defensive midfielders.

… To goal machine

AFP or licensors
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… To goal machine

Sarri quickly developed Allan into a ball-playing midfielder as well as a ball-winner.

And Allan was scoring more goals than he had ever looked likely to.

Three goals in his first season at Napoli, one in the following and a record four goals last season as the team came so close to a Serie A title.

Allan also got five assists in the league as he finished the season with an 86.6% pass completetion rate, an average of 2.4 successful tackles per game and one key pass per game.

That looks like the blueprint for what Sarri wants to see from Kante this season.

And after scoring the opener against Huddersfield this weekend, the launch of Kante 2.0 is already underway.


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