Chelsea were so happy with N’Golo Kante that they sent Leicester flowers to say thank you for selling him to them.
So says Blues technical director Michael Emenalo as he lauded the French midfielder after he added the FWA Footballer of the Year award to his PFA Player of the Year gong following Chelsea’s title triumph.
It is the second successive season where Kante has been the driving force for the champions after his exploits at Leicester earned a £32million summer move to Stamford Bridge.
And Chelsea apparently couldn’t believe their luck after just one training session.
“After Kante’s first training session with us the players hugged him and we sent Leicester flowers,” joked Emenalo as he insisted he believes there’s more to come from the £32million man next year.
“For those of you who don’t know, I am the stand in for Antonio Conte who was supposed to give this speech. Antonio decided not to do it because the Football Writers’ Association couldn’t find 25 awards for all of his players and he doesn’t believe in individual awards.
“But if he was here, he would say about N’Golo that he is a fantastic player, very good in all tactical aspects, but he must improve.
“It is ridiculous to think that N’Golo Kante can improve, given the fact that he has improved two fantastic clubs and helped them win titles in the last couple of seasons.”
Kante’s standout performances have drawn plaudits all season long but the man himself chose to pay tribute to the efforts of his teammates in Antonio Conte’s triumphant squad as he accepted the award which marked the 70th anniversary of the FWA.
“It is special because I couldn’t even say I am the best player, but it’s very special and a great honour,” said Kante, who fought off competition from his team-mate Eden Hazard and Tottenham forward Dele Alli – voted second and third respectively in the poll of journalists.
“It is not only me. I owe so much to my team-mates because we have achieved so much together this season and we still have the FA Cup.
“It is very special, a few years ago I was playing in the French lower divisions. Five years ago I wasn’t even professional, so to receive this kind of award means I am the kind of player I cannot even imagine being here.”