Report: Spurs close to pre-contract deal with Franck Kessié


If reports out of Italy are to be believed, Tottenham Hotspur could be close to a deal for their first new signing in the Antonio Conte era. Sky Sports Italy reporter Rudy Galetti announced on Twitter a few days ago that Spurs were ‘close’ to a deal to be made AC Milan and Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessié to Spurs this summer.

Kessie has been on Spurs’ radar for a little while now – there were reports linking Tottenham with a move for Kessie last summer, with Jose Mourinho apparently an admirer of the 24-year-old central midfielder. There are good reasons to think why. Kessié was a regular starter for Milan last season with 13 goals and 4 assists in over 3200 minutes of action, but it should be noted that 11 of his goals were penalties. Kessié is in the final year of his contract at Milan and rejected a €32million contract extension in the fall, meaning he is free to accept a pre-contract with another club before a contract. free transfer this summer.

Physically, Kessié is a big guy, 6′ and quite quick for his height, which makes him very good at winning the ball and with the strength to get past players when he wants or needs to. Tactically, Kessie operates as a ball-winning midfielder in Milan, usually deployed alongside Ismael Bennacer, who plays a deeper playmaking role. He is comfortable with the ball and is a very good passer – his flagship videos show him at his best by gliding past players in a Mousa Dembele fashion – but it’s worth noting that Kessié doesn’t usually deploy as many line-breaking forward balls.

He certainly covers a lot of ground, but he doesn’t exactly press his opponents (could be more a matter of Milan tactics) and there have been suggestions from MIlan fans that his death and decision making is a bit frustrating, especially in and around the last third. Our sister site AC Milan Offside noted his propensity to stray balls in and around the box and a tendency to land bad shots in cheap seats… which makes Kessié feel like it may have a touch of Sissokos around him if you know what I mean.

Honestly, Kessié looks a lot like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, both in position and skills. If Conte is looking for a hard-working midfielder who can win the ball and guide opposition players into less favorable areas of the pitch, then Kessié looks like an attractive and well-priced option. But he’s not a passer in Jorginho’s sense, which probably makes him a contender not only with Hojbjerg but perhaps also with Tanguy Ndombele or Giovani Lo Celso in the middle of the field. Spurs already have an overabundance of central midfielders; the biggest question is whether it is the midfielders that Conte wants.

Kessié is reportedly asking for a salary of around 8.5m euros/year (~£160,000/week), a high salary but not outrageous and certainly more acceptable in the context of Spurs not having to pay a coaching fee. transfer. If Spurs are interested and pursue a summer transfer, it puts the future of several current Spurs midfielders into question, including Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp.

This rumor has gained some traction over the past few days, and I don’t necessarily hate the idea. Kessié is still quite young – he will turn 25 next month – and the price is certainly right. Maybe he’s considered a more similar rotation for a player like Hojbjerg, and as of now we still have no idea who Conte likes or dislikes, but for now I’m just a little skeptical that Kessié would. to be a real upgrade on what Spurs already have.


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