Tottenham learn Barcelona transfer stance after Antonio Conte draws up plans for impressive La Liga raid

Franck Kessie and Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona

Barcelona have responded to claims Franck Kessie could be leaving the Nou Camp in January after Antonio Conte and Tottenham set their sights on the midfielder.

Kessie became one of AC Milan’s most important players during three years with the Italian giants. However, he ran down his contract last season and began pursuing a free transfer elsewhere.

Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa were all linked with moves for him. However, he snubbed advanced from the Premier League quartet and signed for Barca instead.

Kessie’s time at Barca has been very underwhelming, though. He is yet to complete a full 90 minutes in La Liga. Plus, he has only managed one goal in all competitions, which came in the Champions League against Czech outfit Viktoria Plzen.

The Ivorian has been held back by hip and muscle injuries. But he is also struggling to get into Xavi’s starting eleven. Top midfielders such as Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi are also available to Xavi.

Due to his problems in Spain, Kessie is once again being considered for a transfer by English teams. Conte is plotting a Spurs swoop for him this winter, while Villa are also deciding whether to launch a bid.

It looks like Kessie will be remaining at Barca, at least for the remainder of the season. Blaugrana President Joan Laporta says the midfielder, along with right-back Hector Bellerin, will not be sold in January.

“We are now convinced that Kessie and Bellerin will have more prominence in this second part of the season,” the chief declared (via Fabrizio Romano).

Tottenham warned off Barcelona man

It is unclear how much Spurs were willing to bid for Kessie. transfermarkt rate him at €35million (currently £30.7m) and his Barca deal doesn’t expire until summer 2026. But given his troublesome time at Barca, there is a chance they would have been willing to sell him for less than £30.7m.

Due to Laporta’s comments, though, Spurs will have to pursue other players if they want to bolster their midfield ranks.

One potential option is Juventus and France player Adrien Rabiot. He played a big role in helping France reach the World Cup final. Ultimately Rabiot was on the losing side as Argentina lifted the trophy.

Rabiot is now back at Juve. Although, he probably won’t be there for long as his contract runs out in June.

According to The Times, the 27-year-old has been offered to both Spurs and Arsenal. And it is Conte’s side who are the most likely to capture Rabiot on a cut-price deal in January. Juve cannot request a big fee for him as he will be able to move on as a free agent in the summer.

It is a shame Spurs will not be able to land Kessie from Barca. But Rabiot is a great alternative, having shown what he is about at the World Cup. Another positive for Spurs is that Rabiot is more readily available than Kessie due to his contract situation.

Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher has urged Arsenal not to follow in the footsteps of rivals Spurs when it comes to the January window.