Tuesday night was another reminder of what might’ve been for West Ham United.
Whilst the Irons were enjoying a much-needed week off from action, their local rivals, Chelsea, were competing in a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
These are the sorts of matches that many are dreaming about at the London Stadium with David Moyes’ side pushing for a lucrative spot inside the Premier League’s top four.
The Blues defeated the Hammers over the weekend and then held the La Liga giants to a draw, meaning there is still everything left to play for in the return leg next week.
One player starred across both encounters and what makes it worse is the fact that he could’ve become a West Ham player back in 2015 under Slaven Bilic.
This is, of course, N’Golo Kante, who looks back to his best in the heart of Chelsea’s engine room.
Back in the summer of 2015, Bilic enquired to Caen about signing the diminutive Frenchman for just £5m but no move came to fruition and he subsequently joined top-flight rivals Leicester City for just €8m (£7m).
Now look at him.
The £49.5m-rated midfielder pulled the strings on Saturday, making 88% of his 48 passing attempts and managing a game-high four tackles. In fact, none of Moyes’ starting XI could match his 7.2 SofaScore rating either.
Kante then backed up this performance with another fine showing at the Bernabeu, where he recorded a whopping six dribbles against a midfield that contained Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric.
This was more than the entire La Liga outfit combined, which is startling.
As a result, he was awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ award and earned the most glowing of endorsements from his ex-teammate Cesc Fabregas, who tweeted: “N’Golo has always been a big game player. Never doubt him. He plays for 2.”
Despite entering his thirties, you can see that the 45-time international is a cut above many in the Premier League and one can only wonder what a current Hammers midfield of Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Kante would look like.
All in all, the East Londoners must continue to be haunted by Bilic’s failure to land the World Cup winner. What a catastrophic call that was.