Sunday 22 October 2017 / 04:48 AM

DANTE DEFECTION SHOWS FOOTBALL IS LOSING ITS SOUL

N’Golo Kante has joined Chelsea from Leicester City.

That’s right, a football player has left the champions to join the team that finished 10th in the league last year.

That’s not a misprint. Tenth.

The Foxes were the team that effectively ‘discovered’ Kante. Before Leicester took him on, he’d played for Boulogne and Caen, only two seasons of which were in Ligue 1.

He’d never won anything before, and he’d never played for France.

Things changed when he joined Leicester City.

All of a sudden, he was getting regular game-time for a team playing well. This brought the best out of him, and he started being talked about as one of the best players in the division.

He and his side hung on, clinched the Premier League title.

What happened next?

He ditched them, that’s what.

Despite the investment that Leicester have put in to develop him, despite the exposure they’ve given him and the footballing minutes they’ve bestowed upon him, he’s off. Even though they’re the Premier League champions.

Why? Well, it could be one of a couple of reasons.

Maybe he doesn’t think Leicester have any chance of challenging again.

Maybe the money on offer at Stamford Bridge was simply too much for him to turn down.

Either way, it’s a real indictment of modern professional football.

We’re used to some of the teams below the top bracket lose their players to the bigger club. If you’re a Southampton fan, a Tottenham fan or a West Ham fan, then you’ve experienced this more than once.

It’s no surprise when you’ve got a player who’s clearly the best in the side and would achieve great things if they were given the opportunity to play with better players.

Gareth Bale and Rio Ferdinand are both examples of players who simply outgrew their teams – their talent was too good for the club, and consequently they moved on.

Whilst this sort of behaviour leaves something of a sour taste, it is at least understandable – after all, if you’re a sportsman, you want to achieve things and win trophies, and if you don’t feel like you can do it at your current club, then your best bet is to move on.

It’s not like that with Kante, for the simple reason that he’s already won the top trophy with Leicester. Chelsea finished nine places below them. He’s taken a big step down in terms of league finish, but no doubt a high step up in terms of salary.

If the bigger clubs are always going to be able to poach the best players, we may as well give up and go home.

Leicester’s incredible victory provided wonderful respite for a league that had seen the same three teams sharing the spoils for the previous decade. But even among that joy, the money of Chelsea has managed to spoil things.

Shame on them.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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