Pogba v Kante. Team mates at the beating heart of the French team, both players scored big money moves to Premiership contenders this season, both players won their respective leagues last year and both players are lauded as among the very best midfielders in the game. But who’s better?
Kante’s a year older and 7 inches shorter. He’s also considerably lighter than Pogba. His impact is phenomenal however. His absence from the Leicester team this year can maybe be seen as the difference between winning the league and dropping like a stone to the relegation zone. The difference he’s made to Chelsea this season is beyond question too. Kante dominated Pogba in the recent FA Cup match and scored the winning goal to boot. Around a third of the price of his France team – mate, he already seems a smarter buy.
Claude Makelele, a player Kante often finds himself compared with, has said he just needs to find a penchant for leadership within to become a truly great player. Growing into a key player for a side like Chelsea and the French national side, it seems likely this will develop.
Enjoying a meteoric rise, as recently as 2013, Kante was playing in the french third division with Boulogne before moving to Caen in the second tier in France and being signed to Leicester in 2015.
Alex Ferguson, no less, called Kante “By far the best player in the league” after the Frenchman finished first in both tackles and pass interceptions during his title winning season at Leicester.
By the end of the 2015 / 2016 season Kante had made 175 tackles and 157 interceptions. He broke the record for tackles in one season back in April when he’d hit 149. He also took home the London Football Awards player of the year.
With sides increasingly looking away from traditional combative defensive midfielders, Kante shows the benefits of having someone who can consistently break up play, physically dominate and join in attack on a level not seen in the league since the days, perhaps of Vieira and Keane.
The thing about Pogba is his potential. We’ve seen how years what an imperious midfielder he is even at Champions League while playing at Juve alongside players like Marchisio, Pirlo and Vidal. At time of writing, Pogba is struggling to adapt to the pressure a £105 million move will place on a player. He wouldn’t be the first.
Thus far, none of his great play has come in a red shirt. Almost all of it has come in the black and white of Juventus. Right away in 2012 he started making an impact in the Juve midfield. By the time the midfielder hit 2013, he was seen as a key asset and was duly voted 2013’s Golden Boy for best young player in Europe. This was followed by the Guardian naming him among the 10 most promising players. Pogba’s been challenging at the top a whole lot longer than Kante. He’s been scoring a whole lot more goals too.
in 152 career matches so far, Pogba has scored 39 from midfield, 28 in Serie A over 4 seasons, a notoriously difficult place to net. It’s not huge but it’s a steady flow and comes with 33 assists. He makes on average 2.1 tackles per game. 76 last season for Juventus and 46 already this season for Man Utd. He’s more of an all rounder than Kante. He arguably gave more to the Juventus side that won 4 consecutive Serie A titles than just tackling. He was also Key for the Old Lady in claiming the Coppa Italia and reaching the Champions League final. This is sustained quality over time all over the pitch. He’s box to box, he can pass to a higher level than Kante and he’s a solid tackler.
Who do you think is better?
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