How Arsenal pulled out of N'Golo Kante transfer to sign Granit Xhaka

N'Golo Kante cemented his status as a Chelsea legend by putting in a man-of-the-match performance in their Champions League final win over Man City.

The France World Cup winner was immense to thwart the City attack and, as usual, seemed to cover every blade of grass at the Estadio do Dragao.

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Kante is now a Champions League winner thanks to a brilliant performance against Man City

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He picked up the MOTM prize to go along with the two he collected in both legs of the semi-final win against Real Madrid.

If there were any doubts about just how good the midfielder is, those were put to bed with a vintage performance on the biggest stage.

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"We have seen a man who is above everybody else, N'Golo Kante," said former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

"This guy will be spoken about as one of the greatest players we've seen in the Premier League," Jamie Carragher said.

Joe Cole added: "I played with (Claude) Makelele who I thought was the best in that position until I saw Kante."

Kante's Champions League final stats

85% passing accuracy

53 touches

11 duels won (most)

10 ball recoveries (most)

4 aerials won

3 tackles

2 touches in the opp. box

2 clearances

2 interceptions

2 fouls won


Kante was mobbed by his teammates after the final whistle in Portugal

The £32million Chelsea paid Leicester for Kante in 2016 seems like the bargain of the century now.

He left after winning the Premier League with Leicester, and then proceeded to help the Blues claim the title the following season.

It could have been a whole lot different, though, as Arsenal were the frontrunners for his signature before they pulled out of the move.


Kante was man-of-the match in the final and both semi-final games against Real Madrid

Former Arsenal transfer negotiator Dick Law told The Athletic that a move for Kante was on the table until they pulled the plug because of the agents' fees involved.

Discussing the Kante deal, Law said: "When things reached an extreme, we tended to back away."

An investigation by Football Leaks detailed how the two agents involved in setting up Kante's transfer to Chelsea pocketed a combined total of £10.6million.


Arsenal signed Xhaka over Kante back in 2016

Gregory Dakad earned the bigger share of £6.4m, while Abdelkarim Douis collected £4.2m.

Just a few weeks later, the Gunners completed their move for Granit Xhaka, who has not had quite the same impact at the club as Kante has had at Chelsea.


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