Atalanta have rejected a €25m offer from Chelsea for Franck Kessié, with the Ivorian midfielder’s agent claiming there is also interest from several other Premier League sides including Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Kessié, who spent last season on loan at Cesena, has been in outstanding form as Atalanta have risen up to sixth place in Serie A after 18 games. The 20-year-old has scored six goals in 16 appearances, leading to comparisons with a compatriot, Yaya Touré.
Kessié has been be selected in the provisional Ivory Coast squad for the African Nations Cup this week having become a regular in Michel Dussuyer’s side in recent months. A proposed move to Sunderland in August broke down after he was denied a work permit but his new status as a regular international and one of the highest-rated young midfielders in Italy should mean that is no longer an obstacle to any move to England.
Chelsea are keen to find a replacement for the Brazil international Oscar, who completed his move to Chinese Super league side Shanghai SIPG for £52m this week. However, Kessié’s agent George Atangana has confirmed that their initial bid was rejected by Atalanta, who are thought to value their prized asset at around €40m (£34m).
“We have a lot of interest from the Premier League – Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal,” he told Guardian sport. “I cannot say at this stage how much he will cost but we are talking about one of the best young players in the world. But for us the most important thing is that the technical project is the right one for him. Franck is very young so we have to be very careful about his development.
“Chelsea are very interested and it is a great club but we must take our time to consider all the options,” Atangana, who will meet Stamford Bridge officials in London next week, added. “Now we are in January so he has to play at the African Cup of Nations for Ivory Coast so I am not going to rush anything.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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