Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac believes his side need their own N’Golo Kante in order to succeed.
Chelsea midfielder Kante has been linked with a number of clubs, most notably Paris Saint-Germain despite his current deal with the Blues expiring in 2023.
The rise of N’Golo Kante: Five things to know…
- Kante played an instrumental role in Leicester City winning an unprecedented Premier League title in 2015/16.
- After representing France at Euro 2016 he joined Chelsea for a fee reported to be around £32m.
- Kante became the first player since Eric Cantona in 1993 to win back‑to-back top-flight titles in England with two different clubs.
- His efforts led his peers to name him the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.
- Kante was also a key member of France’s victorious 2018 World Cup-winning team.
A breakout 2015/16 campaign with Leicester City, whom he joined from SM Caen, brought the Frenchman universal attention. His innate ability to break attacks before starting them helped the Foxes win an unprecedented Premier League title – more so as it came a season after they staved off relegation from English football’s top division.
Those performances subsequently earned him an international call-up, and he’s since been a pivotal member of France’s team, as well as a big move to Chelsea.
Again the diminutive midfielder played a key role in Antonio Conte’s side winning the Premier League, which saw him become the first player since Eric Cantona in 1993 to win back‑to-back top flight titles in England with two different clubs, as well as earning him the coveted PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.
Kovac, who is chasing a Bundesliga crown at the helm of Bayern, feels anyone who shares Kante’s technical profile has a place in every team, including his own.
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“Today, to succeed – and I’m going to take France as an example – you need a player like N’Golo Kante, someone cleaning up wherever he goes,” he told RMC.
“Bayern Munich had this kind of player in the past, and today we do not have a player like him, and those who are here have to do this job, which means that defending is the task of every player.”
A tough first season for Kovac
Kovac succeeded Jupp Heynckes as Bayern boss last summer and got off to a rocky start. A run of four consecutive league wins at the start were followed by two defeats and one draw which gave Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund a healthy lead.
After 20 matches played the Bavarian giants were seven points behind Dortmund but they’ve since clawed that deficit back, largely helped by Lucien Favre’s men dropping points and following their incredible 5-0 win over the Yellow-Blacks they lead by a point with six matches remaining.
However, the big disappointment has come in Europe, despite finishing top of their group Bayern were unable to defeat Ajax in both meetings. A round-of-16 clash with Liverpool saw Bayern leave Anfield with a goalless draw but former antagonist Jurgen Klopp spearheaded his side to a 3-1 win in Munich.