Chelsea target man Diego Costa has hailed tireless defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante, insisting that the diminutive France international has played an integral part in Chelsea's current standing in the Premier League table.
Costa, speaking to SFR Sport, via Express, revealed his adoration for Kante - whom Chelsea signed for £30m from last season's Premier League victors Leicester City last summer - admitting that the Blues' tenacious number 7 is the 'heart' of the squad under Antonio Conte.
“He is our heart, our lung,” said Costa.
“He brings us a lot on the ground. He is a player who runs, who scores goals, who is everywhere. He's an awesome guy."
Costa's gracious words for the dogged 26-year-old come with some notable justification. Kante was indeed the engine for Claudio Ranieri's triumphant Foxes squad last year following a move from Ligue 1 outfit Caen.
And it seems the highly-rated midfielder's glowing influence upon match proceedings for Chelsea this term have seen the Stamford Bridge club rise to the top of the domestic table, following a dismal campaign in the 2015-16 season where they languished in 10th.
Since Kante's move to London, Leicester City have not been the same animal this season. Costa then proceeded to outline the importance of replacing Kante after his departure, and remained sympathetic towards the current Premier League holders dip in form, following such a magical season last year:
“When one sees Leicester, since his departure, I feel [for them]." Claimed Costa.
“The team has not done a good season, even if they are a bit better at the moment. But they had trouble finding his replacement.
“Kante, when he's in a team, we see him. And when he's not there, it's also felt on the pitch.”
Costa has managed to bag 22 goals in all competitions for the Blues this season. The amiable Spaniard certainly has the right to be happy with Kante's steadfast endeavours, and should expect the Frenchman to continue to supply him with more golden opportunities to better his hefty tally this season.