Paris Saint-Germain are ready to make the first move in the race to beat Manchester United to the signing of AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to reports.
Kessie is in the final year of his contract with AC Milan, who are struggling to convince him to renew. The midfielder will be free to choose his next club from January onwards and the destination could be in the Premier League.
A recent report named Chelsea and Manchester United as the two top contenders to take Kessie to England. Since then, links with the latter have been frequent.
It has been claimed that United view Kessie as an ideal successor to Paul Pogba. The Frenchman is likewise in the final year of his contract and his future remains in doubt.
Even if Pogba stays, Kessie could be useful to play in the double pivot of United’s 4-2-3-1 system. It is an area that will be a priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to strengthen.
But they will have to work out how much they think Kessie is worth it. Although the prospect of signing him without a transfer fee is appealing, his wages will be a major investment.
Such a decision will have to come soon, because PSG are about to firm up their own interest in the Ivory Coast international.
According to Tuttomercatoweb, the French giants are willing to give him a contract worth €12m per season plus bonuses, over a period of five years. That comfortably surpasses the €8m salary Kessie is believed to want.
PSG have proven themselves as the kings of the free market in recent months. They acquired Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum without paying any transfer fees this summer.
The same also went for Gianluigi Donnarumma, who made the move from AC Milan that Kessie could now replicate.
Milan are only offering half of what PSG are putting on the table, so a separation seems likely. Whether Man Utd will be willing to match the Ligue 1 side’s offer remains to be seen; it may well depend on if Pogba stays or goes.
In their coverage of the report, Sport Witness speculate that there could still be a chance for United to sign him. That’s because PSG only want to do a deal when Kessie is free next summer, but other suitors could act in January if willing to pay a transfer fee too.
Such an outcome may also be preferable for Milan if they are resigned to their fate. After also losing Hakan Calhanoglu for nothing – and to rivals Inter, to make matters worse – in the summer gone by, they may opt to cash in on Kessie while they can.
But the power is in the player’s hands now, so he will be weighing up what the right choice will be.
Man Utd eye Kessie alternative?
Meanwhile, another midfielder to be linked with Man Utd comes from the other side of the Milan divide.
Inter enforcer Marcelo Brozovic continues to occupy a space in the club’s thoughts. He too is in the final few months of his contract at San Siro.
The experienced Croatia international has played in every Serie A game for Inter under new boss Simone Inzaghi so far. But his long-term future could be outside of Milan and in the Premier League instead.
According to Friday’s European papers, Man Utd thought about signing him last summer before shelving those plans. Now, though, they could revisit them.
Gazzetta Dello Sport relay that Inter want to extend Brozovic’s contract, given there is interest from Man Utd, Tottenham and – coincidentally – PSG as well.
As things stand, though, until an agreement is found, the 28-year-old can negotiate with other clubs in three months’ time.