Gueye is threatening Kante’s status as Europe’s best

Adam Brown

Kante’s impact at Leicester was excellent last year, so much so that he won his place in the French national team and got a big move to Chelsea. The Frenchman’s style and impact was unrivalled during the Foxes title-winning campaign. However, although impressing again, Kante has competition this year in the form of Everton’s Idrissa Gueye.

It appears that Everton have found a gem from the sinking H.M.S Aston Villa. Part of a squad that produced some of the most shambolic defensive displays in the Premier League era, it was unthinkable that anyone from that side could establish themselves in England’s top flight. How were Everton able to see the quality in Gueye? You could suggest they were lucky, perhaps they made a rash gamble. On the face of it, these would all be fair claims…

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But of course, Everton were able to acquire Steve Walsh from Leicester – the man who is developing a reputation as one of the game’s elite scouts. Effectively, he won the Foxes the Premier League title – how else would they have acquired the likes of Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante? He could pretty much be the story for a football version of the movie ‘Moneyball’ going by the track record of his suggested signings. Walsh unearths hidden gems of the highest quality and doesn’t need to spend big.

Walsh has proven that Kante was not a fluke with his acquisition of Idrissa Gueye. The Senegalese defensive-midfielder has been ridiculous this season, leading the league with 95 tackles (nine more than Kante). He also has won 172 duels in comparison to the Frenchman’s 142. Ronald Koeman’s midfielder is ruthless in winning back the ball, and his style is very similar to N’Golo Kante’s.

The statistics posted by L’Equipe show that in 2016, Idrissa Gueye had more tackles and recoveries than Kante, and only two less interceptions. Furthermore, Everton’s Senegalese man had more tackles and interceptions than any other player across Europe’s top five leagues in the calendar year. £7.1million for Europe’s best defensive-midfielder in 2016? Everton’s recruitment genius has once again proven his worth.

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There’s going to be a lot of interest for Gueye in the summer if he continues his form, he’s a certainty for the Premier League team of the season. Kante’s talent is undeniable, but it would be foolish to distinguish him from the rest of the league as a class above – Gueye is certainly challenging Chelsea’s sentinel here and is statistically better in multiple areas. Without doubt, the Senegalese midfielder is the bargain of the season. 7.1% of the price of Paul Pogba, and 100% better than him, this season. The Toffees’ gem has made a much bigger impact than the world’s most expensive player.

The only worry for the rest of the league now is how Everton’s other signings pan out. Going off Steve Walsh’s record, new signing Ademola Lookman is probably going to be the next Robert Pires.

But does Everton’s imperious Gueye make our Merseyside-Manchester combined XI?

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