Chelsea legend Graeme Le Saux has admitted that he would have fancied playing alongside Frenchman and fellow midfielder N’Golo Kante during his twelve-year spell at the club.
The 27-year old midfielder has had his reputation enhanced in world football after joining Leicester City as a relatively unknown player from French Ligue 2 outfit Caen in 2015.
Due to his work ethic, tenacity and tireless displays, Kante quickly became a mainstay at Leicester and Chelsea, playing a pivotal role in guiding both clubs to Premier League glory in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“I think with the age I am now, N’Golo Kante and his fitness would be very important for me to be in a team with him.”, joked Le Saux.
“But Chelsea have had so many great players over the last 20 years, if you look at all those winners from the Premier League and Champions League-winning teams.
“Obviously it would have been a real pleasure to play with players like [Didier] Drogba, [John] Terry, [Frank] Lampard or [Eden] Hazard now.
Le Saux, who hang up his boots in 2005, reflects on his trophy-laden time at Chelsea during which he wrapped up the FA Charity Shield, the Football League Cup, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and a UEFA Super Cup, cementing a place in the club’s history and in the fans’ hearts.
“Firstly, I was very lucky to play for the club for twelve years altogether. I had six years in my first spell and six years when I came back to the club in 1997”, Le Saux reflected.
When asked which memories he cherishes the most from his time at Stamford Bridge, he said: “I suppose my early experiences as a young player, making it into the first team and then coming back and having the success with players like [Gianfranco] Zola, [Roberto] Di Matteo, [Marcel] Desailly, [Frank] Leboeuf, all those excellent players we had at Chelsea in the late 90’s.
“And we were very successful even if we didn’t win the league. We won a few cups, domestic and Europeans. It was a very special time for us all back then”.
Le Saux lifts the lid on why he left the Blues in 2003, a year before Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich acquired the club from Ken Bates for £140 million.
The rest is history as Chelsea took British and European football by storm in the decade following his departure, lifting among others four Premier League titles and the Champions League between 2005 and 2017.
“It wasn’t a good timing, but I was getting older then”, Le Saux carried on.
“And football was moving very quickly, it always does, I was 34 and I felt I had two more years to give to football.
“I had an opportunity to go down to Southampton, who I had known since I was a young player.
“It was a good opportunity for me at the later part of my career to finish my career at a very good Premier League club like Southampton.
“Everything comes to an end and my time at Chelsea after 12 years was over, but it’s is the nature of football”.