Barcelona have emerged as the latest suitors for AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to reports in Spain, although two Premier League clubs have also been confirmed as contenders.
Kessie is in the final year of his contract with Milan, where he has established himself as a key player. At present, there seems to be little chance of him signing a renewal. Losing him for free would come as another blow to the Rossoneri, who also said goodbye to Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu on the same terms this summer.
For most other top European clubs, though, Kessie’s situation is one to be excited about. Several clubs are interested in the Ivorian midfielder, including a few in the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur have been planning a move for him next summer ever since this year’s transfer window closed. In addition, London rivals Chelsea are looking into a deal. Alternatively still, Liverpool could consider him as a belated replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.
Paris Saint-Germain have been making progress over a deal to take him to France, once again taking advantage of the free market after plucking the likes of Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and a certain Lionel Messi this year.
But although they appear to be in the lead for Kessie at present, the race to sign him is widening.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are now also showing an interest in the former Atalanta star.
Due to their financial difficulties, they failed to reinforce their midfield this summer. Wijnaldum was a long-term target, but they could not compete with what PSG were willing to offer. Then, they bid farewell to the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Ilaix Moriba.
Therefore, Ronald Koeman wants to reinforce the position with players he trusts more. While a source has confirmed to Mundo Deportivo that Youri Tielemans of Leicester is appreciated, Kessie is also on the shortlist.
Obstacle separates Barcelona from Kessie
But the issue, like with Wijnaldum a few months ago, would be his salary. Kessie is hoping for a wage packet of €6m per season at his next club. That would be problematic for a Barca side who let go of high earners like Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the summer.
However, the 24-year-old’s range of qualities could make him an ideal reinforcement at Camp Nou if a deal could be possible next year.
Furthermore, Barca made several signings on free transfers this year – namely Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
Kessie could in theory choose his next club as early as January, when he can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside Italy.
Mundo Deportivo confirm PSG, Liverpool and Tottenham as the rival competition for his signature.