Chelsea's starting line-up now actually looks better when their £32m man isn't in it - TCC View

N’golo Kante is currently not with the Chelsea squad in the United States, missing out on the club’s pre-season tour of America due to his vaccination status.

This has seen opportunities handed to Conor Gallagher in both pre-season friendlies so far, as well as a midfield pairing of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic rekindling their relationship in the middle.

With that being said, when putting together potential starting line-ups for the opening game of the Premier League season against Everton, it’s difficult to make a case for the Frenchman being in there.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Less than two years ago, it would have been impossible to make an argument for a first-choice midfield that didn’t include the midfielder, who joined the Blues to immediate success for £30m in 2016.

Now though, it appears the competition for places mixed with a plagued injury record have left Jorginho and Kovacic the clear choices for a midfield pair.

Chelsea look better without Kante

The control the Blues have in possession is night and day for when the Italian starts versus when he doesn’t. With Thomas Tuchel’s side surely looking to dominate possession in the majority of fixtures, his presence is required in midfield.

Then there is the Croatian, who enjoyed his best season at Stamford Bridge last campaign, adding attacking quality to his game which had been slightly lacking before.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

His ability to drive the team forwards is similar to Kante’s, however his ability to pick the final pass is vastly better than the Frenchman’s, and crucial to developing attacks in the central areas of the pitch.

Even if there is a desire for more goals than what Kovacic provides, the Blues now have Gallagher at their disposal, who proved during his loan spell at Crystal Palace that he can provide goals in a similar vein to fellow Englishman Mason Mount.

So, if the Blues are to become a possession-based, dominant side who are able to build attacks down the middle as well as out wide, they should be looking towards a future that doesn’t involve Kante.

Jack is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has freelanced for The Athletic and The Sun. Jack has reported live from Premier League and Championship grounds, whilst also being published in the Non League Paper.