Recent results have seen Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United sign jump up to eighth place in the Premier League, but if they are to stand any chance of finishing in the Europa League places they need someone that can bridge both the defence and attack.
Ever since he left for Paris Saint-Germain, Yohan Cabaye still hasn’t been properly replaced at St James’ Park. Cheick Tiote, Jack Colback and most recently Mehdi Abeid have all impressed, but none of them can do the all-round job that Cabaye was capable of.
After winning promotion with SM Caen last season, the performances of midfielder N’Golo Kante have been outstanding this season and where he catches the headlines with his lung-busting runs from deep, it’s his defensive work that sees him ranked as one of the best in Ligue 1.
The 23-year-old centre-midfielder has not only scored two goals and provided two assists this season, but he also leads Ligue 1 in tackles made this season. In 12 appearances he has made 70 tackles – 5.8 per game on average – that’s more than the highly rated Maxime Gonalons, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Marco Verratti.
In his two appearances this season, Abeid is averaging five per game, Tiote is averaging 3.8 over four appearances and Colback, who has played the most out of the three only averages 1.6 per game.
No midfielder in the current Newcastle side can match Kante in both the attacking and defensive categories this season. They are obviously playing in a different country and different league, but it has been very impressive how Kante has made the jump from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, there’s no reason to think the 23-year-old wouldn’t be able to make the leap to the Premier League.
Only last week Caen’s Sporting Director was quoted in saying “Given the number of requests we have, it will be difficult to keep him next summer.”
After 13 games, Caen sit 17th with 12 points and if Kante continues to impress for the Normandy club, they may find it very hard to keep him beyond January.