Former England midfielder Steve McMahon reckons Gianfranco Zola would immediately install N’Golo Kante in the holding midfield role if he replaced Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea manager.

Sarri has been under intense pressure in recent weeks due to the Blues’ alarming dip in reform and string of results. While the club hierarchy have recently given public backing for the ex-Napoli manager, it is widely believed he needs a string of positive results over the next few matches in order for him to keep his job at Stamford Bridge.

Zola, currently the Chelsea No2, is the favourite to become the next manager at Chelsea if Sarri was shown the door at Chelsea. The former Blues striker is currently in hospital due to a gallstone issue and may again be absent from the dugout on Sunday when the west Londoners take on Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley.

McMahon, who now works as a television pundit, reckons Sarri may be given the sack by Chelsea after the match on Sunday, and if such scenario does happen and Zola takes over, the former England midfielder believes the former Italian international would instantly position Kante back into the base of midfield. Sarri has been regularly criticised for shunting the French midfielder into the right side of midfield.

“You know what would happen? I’ll tell you what will happen,” said the ex-England midfielder. “I think he’s loyal and he’s a good guy, Gianfranco. “You know what happens if he takes control of that football club? The first thing he’ll do is put Kante into holding midfield. That’s what he’d do. So he’d say ‘yeah I’ll stick by Sarri and say ‘I’m your assistant and I go with what you’re saying’.

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“But first thing you’d do if you had any sense is say ‘Kante, you’re going back into your best position, this is how I’m going to shape the team’. That would be the right thing to do. He wouldn’t just be sticking with the same team because everybody has got a different opinion on where players should be playing and how the team should play.

“And Gianfranco will have his opinion on how the team should play, whether it’s right or wrong. But I’m sure if he took over tomorrow, he would say ‘Kante, you’re now back into where you should be as holding midfield player’. And the fans would go straight away: ‘that’s what we’ve been wanting, that’s what we should have had from the start’.”