by Sam Davies, LastwordonFootball.com
His transfer from recently-relegated Aston Villa to apparently ambitious Everton was met with pondering rumination from all corners. In a team regarded as one of the worst in the Premier League era, Idrissa Gueye was largely overlooked. Perhaps, in hindsight, that nobody seemed to notice the Senegalese international was a good thing.
Villa were in turmoil. The players’ pitch-side arguments with fans, their unprofessional social media activity and their general in-game incompetence overshadowed any individual promise on the pitch. When Everton duly completed the £7.1m signing of Gueye, a look at his stats sparked comparisons to a Premier League winner of similar style.
Idrissa Gueye and N’Golo Kanté’s similarities
N’Golo Kanté joined Leicester for a modest fee of £5.6m in the summer of 2015. A relatively unknown figure outside of Caen, he quickly became Leicester’s main man. His work-rate and mobility epitomised the way Claudio Ranieri wanted his team to work. Shinji Okazaki, Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater joined Kanté in covering every blade of grass through the team’s spine.
The Frenchman was winning more tackles than anyone else in the league; more interceptions too. And the plaudits followed. Kanté was lauded as one of the best players in the league.
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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 27: Joe Allen of Stoke City is tackled by Idrissa Gueye of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park on August 27, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)