There are many transfer rumors circulating around Leicester City players. Will Vardy choose Arsenal? Will Mahrez join him in North London? Will N’Golo Kante end up back in France?
While the first two have been talked about, rumors of Kante’s return to France have been omitted. After finishing first in the Premier League in interceptions and tackles won, Kante received a lot of praise and interest from top European clubs, including French powerhouse Paris-Saint Germain.
PSG possesses the allure and the monetary ability to attract Kante back to his native country. There has already been extensive discussion over who would replace Kante if he were to leave. While Leicester is interested in signing Nampalys Mendy, a midfield starlet from OGC Nice, there is already a current Fox who fits the description: Gokhan Inler.
A “big money” signing from Napoli last summer, the former Swiss captain could be suitable to replace Kante in the lineup. Inler played defensive midfield in Italy, and helped Napoli clinch a Champions League berth and consistently finish in the top five of a competitive Serie A.
Last season, despite Inler’s skill level, Kante stole the starting job from the Swiss international, and he fell out of favor with Claudio Ranieri. While the 31-year-old featured in a few cup competitions, his league play was very limited.
With Leicester set to face a packed fixture schedule with UEFA Champions League matches midweek, Inler will be a necessity next season for depth, experience, and possibly being the go-to central midfielder for Leicester.
Other than being used as a possible replacement for N’Golo Kante if he is to leave, here are Leicester’s presumed options for the Swiss, who is contracted through the summer of 2018:
LOAN HIM OUT
It is also possible and most likely that Kante stays in Leicester for at least one more season. If this is to be true, the best solution would be to loan Inler to another club. There was serious interest for the midfielder in January, and reigniting such interest could be beneficial for everyone involved.
Many Bundesliga teams, like Schalke, Hertha Berlin, Hamburg, Leverkusen, and even Dortmund and Bayern Munich inquired about Inler back in January, but all deals fell through.
Allowing him to find his form in Germany next season could work in Leicester’s favor. Just look at how Chicharito rekindled his goal-scoring touch last season at Leverkusen while on loan from Manchester United. The same thing could happen to Inler
Regardless of Kante’s situation, it doesn’t appear likely that Inler has a real place at Leicester, despite his experience and Ranieri’s reassurance of his specific role. With this in mind, maybe selling Inler is best at this point.
Leicester recently went through similar circumstances with another big money signing Andrej Kramaric. The Croatian striker didn’t pan out in England, forcing Leicester to loan and then permanently sell him to Hoffenheim.
With previous interest from Germany, selling Inler could make room on the books for another talented central midfielder who is more suited to the style of play in England.
PLAY THE MAN!
This solution is simple. Why is Inler constantly being left out of the loop? He is good, he’s shown it at the top flight in Italy and the international game. He deserves to play.
It wasn’t so much Inler was bad as it was Kante and Drinkwater were very good. Who’s to say this duo will duplicate their success this season. It’s not a lock. If and when Drinkwater and Kante falter, Inler should be the one to get a shot.
USE HIM AS A SUPER SUB
He wasn’t even on the bench late in the season, which is difficult to understand. In the midst of a title race, wouldn’t you want a seasoned veteran and a proven leader to be there in case he is needed or to provide advice for the younger players?
Inler should be on the bench, at least, to provide an additional option at midfield. He is good, so why not even have him around, especially next year in Champions League play and at the beginning of Leicester’s title defense when the pressure is turned all the way up.
In whatever capacity Leicester decides to use Gokhan Inler, let’s just hope it doesn’t worsen Inler’s reputation as a leader, a player, or a locker room presence. He is arguably Leicester’s most valuable commodity and might be a catalyst for defending the title.