Aston Villa back in for Barcelona midfielder earning Xavi trust, as Tottenham transfer battle takes shape

Franck Kessie and Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona

Aston Villa remain in contention for the signing of Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie in the summer, according to a report in Spain.

Kessie only joined Barcelona last summer after his contract with AC Milan expired. Despite arriving as a reigning Serie A champion, the midfielder initially found it difficult to adapt to his new surroundings.

Therefore, there were already claims leading up to the January transfer window that Kessie could be sold. Anything Barcelona could have made from his exit would have been a profit.

At the time, an ambitious Aston Villa were one of the contenders to sign him. Ultimately, though, Kessie remained at Camp Nou.

He has been earning the trust of head coach Xavi in recent weeks. Now, he has played 28 times for his new club, scoring twice and providing three assists.

However, Kessie is still facing an uncertain future in Catalonia. Despite being under contract until 2026, a summer departure is coming back into focus.

According to Diario Sport, Aston Villa are still in the frame to sign Kessie. Their interest is referred to in relation to rival admiration by Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan.

Barcelona now look more likely to keep hold of the Ivory Coast international. But if they end up sacrificing him, he could have two options in the Premier League or one back in Serie A, where he would be crossing enemy lines after his past with AC Milan.

It is not yet clear how much Kessie might cost any of his suitors. At the age of 26, he is entering the prime of his career, so likely won’t come cheap.

Kessie an ambitious target for Aston Villa

From his perspective, it will be important to be competing at the best level possible, but on a regular basis. Hence, he will have to reflect on a few things regarding his choice from last summer and any decision that could follow this year.

If Aston Villa were able to get Kessie on board, it would be a major coup. He is a player of Champions League and Europa League pedigree, which is above the territory Unai Emery’s side have found themselves in since their Premier League return.

He would likely be an upgrade on what they already have in midfield. Indeed, a prime Kessie could be better than any of Boubacar Kamara, Leander Dendoncker, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn or Jacob Ramsey.

But the fact that Tottenham – who are seeking cover for the injured Rodrigo Bentancur, as well as competition for existing options like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – and Inter are also keen on him might make things difficult for Villa. Either of them may be able to offer European involvement next season, allowing Kessie to continue at a higher level.

Still, Villa have shown ambition in recent transfer windows and by appointing a coach of Emery’s calibre. Thus, they cannot necessarily be ruled out of the race to sign Kessie, however unlikely it may seem at this stage.

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