Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a late blow over one of their mooted January transfer window targets this week…
What’s the word?
There were reports suggesting that Spurs had agreed on a deal with AC Milan for midfielder Franck Kessie, who is out of contract in the summer, after sporting director Fabio Paratici tried to sign him immediately instead of waiting until the end of the season.
However, it appears as if he won’t be joining this month – if at all – as according to Italian journalist Gianluigi Longari, the 25-year-old star has verbally agreed to join LaLiga giants Barcelona in June.
“Verbal agreement between #Kessie and #Barcelona for June when the contract with the midfielder’s #Milan will expire. No signature for the moment but the #Blaugrana aim to get to the definition of the details with the player’s entourage,” he tweeted.
What midfielder should Spurs sign now?
Gutting blow for Conte
This will come as devastating news to Antonio Conte, who has previously been said to have requested Kessie’s signature heading into this month – and it’s easy to see why.
The £25m-rated Ivory Coast powerhouse would be an instant upgrade to the bulk of the Italian’s options, especially as the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso are free to leave before Monday’s deadline.
Kessie is capable of not only providing a physical presence in the engine room but also goals with his set-piece talents and ability to drive the ball forward into the final third.
Indeed, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (15 goals) found the net more times than the AC Milan midfielder (13) last season, whilst he also averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.2 dribbles per game, via WhoScored.
That sort of style has earned comparison to former Premier League star Yaya Toure after Antonio Cassano also dubbed him “devastating” to Bobo TV (via MilanLive).
Elsewhere, Kessie has been described as an “extraordinary player” by his ex-Milan boss Vincenzo Montella.
Therefore, Conte will be truly gutted to have missed out on a player that he’s asked for, one that has been regularly linked with the north Londoners in recent months.
It comes late in the window, so Paratici and co will have their work cut out to find an alternative with just a handful of days remaining.