After three seasons in Milan, Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessié has joined FC Barcelona on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract with the Rossoneri.
Kessié has spent the past seven years in Italy following his move to Atalanta in 2015 from the African nation and spent four seasons in Bergamo before moving down the A4 motorway to Milan.
For both Milan and Atalanta he became one of the first names of the team sheet and he made 223 appearances for the Rossoneri racking up 37 goals and 16 assists while being deployed mostly in the center of the midfield playing in a more defensive pairing.
In Milan he was predominantly used as a defensive midfielder in a double pivot system under Stefano Pioli, and was a massive factor in their successful 2022 season which saw the Rossoneri collect their first Scudetto win in over a decade.
While this role might not be available for him in Barcelona, with Busquets still locking down the deeper midfield role, but the Ivorian’s qualities cannot be understated as he also has a fantastic work ethic and can role as a box to box number eight as well, couple his tenacity up and down the field and a penchant to jump up for an attack could make him massively successful with the Catalans.
Barça are clearly lacking a dominating midfield presence, especially with the emergence of players like Gavi and Pedri in recent seasons, both players are more technically gifted than known for their strength, and with Kessié it becomes incredibly difficult to take him off the ball.
Kessié’s ability to pick up the ball from deeper positions and work his way through the heart of an opponents midfield using his size will be a very valuable option to Xavi’s side and will undoubtedly work in tandem with the likes of his new midfield partners in the aforementioned Pedri, Gavi and Busquets amongst others.
With a current valuation of roughly $50 million, the fact the Blaugrana were able to pick this midfield general up for free is a testament to the stature of the fallen Spanish giants.
With Barça focusing on free transfers and loans for new arrivals due to a lack of funds, a free transfer of Kessié’s calibre is undoubtedly a massive coup for the club and it appears that this transfer will only get brighter in the Catalan’s future.