Chelsea decision ‘almost guaranteed’ as two top suitors for midfield star named

Date published: Wednesday 29th September 2021 3:56 - Samuel Bannister

Rafael Leao, Franck Kessie, Milan celeb

Franck Kessie has two main suitors if he is to secure his wish of a transfer to the Premier League, according to a report.

Ivory Coast international Kessie is in the final year of his contract with AC Milan. He has been a key player for them since joining from Atalanta, helping them take steps back towards where they belong. But despite finally getting a taste of Champions League football this season, it seems this will be his last year with the club.

Milan are unable to offer the 24-year-old what he wants in terms of wages, which is problematic. After losing Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu on free transfers this year, Kessie could follow a similar path in 2022.

He will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside Italy from January onwards. But he may take his time to pick the right next destination. Either way, the Premier League seems like his preference.

It is believed the midfielder’s qualities would be a good fit for English football. There have been rumours of several clubs being willing to grant him his wish to prove that. For example, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool have been mentioned as potential suitors.

But it is actually two different clubs, according to Fichajes, who would like to add Kessie to their ranks. The Spanish outlet claims Chelsea and Manchester United are the primary contenders for the 48-cap international.

Fichajes believe it is already “almost guaranteed” that Chelsea will not buy Saul Niguez permanently after his loan spell from Atletico Madrid. In truth, it seems unlikely they would have made such a judgement so soon. But they will be planning for the future regardless.

Chelsea could pass up their option to buy Saul in favour of another alternative. Given that Kessie could be free and is a couple of years younger, he may be a preferable solution.

There have also been rumours that Chelsea could cash in on N’Golo Kante next year, which may pave a different way for Kessie to join them.

Franck Kessie of AC Milan warms up during the Serie A 2021/22 football match between AC Milan and SS Lazio at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium

Alternatively, defensive midfield remains a priority area for Man Utd to strengthen. Scott McTominay and Fred are the current starters there, but the latter in particular could see his role under threat by a new signing.

A range of names have been linked, but United have had some concerns about the costs of some of them. Again, with Kessie not costing a penny for a transfer fee, they wouldn’t have to worry there if they deem his wages worthwhile.

Fichajes think that operation would depend on the future of Paul Pogba, also out of contract at the end of the season. If he does not renew, there should be space for the Milan man to sign up.


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Kessie better value than Rice

Interestingly, both Chelsea and Man Utd had also been linked with Declan Rice of West Ham.

However, they may be turning their attention elsewhere after learning of the huge asking price for the England international.

West Ham have made a decision on Rice’s future and will sell him for around £90m in 2022, claims a report.

The midfielder’s future has been in the spotlight for the last 18 months. And the 22-year-old’s performances at Euro 2020 only emphasized Rice’s burgeoning development.

The player is understood to have turned down two contract offers from West Ham earlier in the summer. The Guardian also claimed Rice had asked to be informed of any bids amid interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

Rice has just short of two years remaining on his existing deal. But with no prospect of him penning a new contract West Ham have been forced into a decision.

And according to Football Insider, the Hammers board have opted to try and cash in on Rice to the tune of £90m rather than see his value plummet with his contract running down.

Declan Rice West Ham September 2021

West Ham wanted £100m-plus in the summer and that put off buyers.

Manchester United are believed to have started to look elsewhere such was West Ham’s stance.

ESPN reporter Mark Ogden believes United officials are not so convinced Rice is the right man for United. They are said to be looking for alternatives with the price tag a big factor.

With that in mind, Kessie could be a feasible alternative if they can beat Chelsea to his signature.

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