Monday, October 2, 2023

Arsenal now reportedly want to sign ‘one of the most influential’ players Arsene Wenger says he has ever seen

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Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a big fan of reported Gunners target N’Golo Kante.

According to Foot Mercato, the Chelsea central midfielder has been offered to table-toppers Arsenal, as well as their bitter rivals Tottenham.

Kante’s Stamford Bridge contract expires at the end of the current season, and the report suggests he could join Arsenal on a free transfer.

Amid those links, we decided to revisit legendary Gunners manager Wenger’s comments on Kante from World Cup 2018, a tournament the midfielder of course helped France to win.

He said: “He is one of the most influential midfielders I’ve seen play football. He constantly makes simple decisions and never overcomplicates it.

“Have I looked to sign Kante? Yes. When he was in France and when he was at Leicester. I cannot explain everything but it is quite obvious when you look at where he has gone. Was it the money? I do not want to talk about that. Transfers are transfers – you cannot explain absolutely everything.”

In March 2017, Wenger said that Kante and Granit Xhaka cannot be compared as they are different profiles of players. Could they be teammates next season?

Wenger stated: “They are different types of players. Xhaka is more in the distribution of the pass through the lines and Kante is more the ball winner with the real technique to steal the ball without making the foul. You can compare more Kante with Francis Coquelin more than with Xhaka. Xhaka is more a distribution player.”

Would Kante be a good signing for Arsenal? His recent injury record, age and likely high wages all count against him.

But on his best form, he is as good as any defensive midfielder in the world and Arsenal did try and sign a new face in the engine room on deadline day.

Arsenal are so reliant on Thomas Partey and lose something when he is not in the side.

Kante could bridge that gap, but his injury problems mean he could be sidelined for just as long if he did join Arsenal.

It is not the type of signing Mikel Arteta has been making and the report could just be Kante’s agent getting the feelers out there with his client’s contract running out but looking to stay in London.

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