Barcelona are considering AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie as an alternative to another reported Liverpool target in Leicester City star Youri Tielemans, per Mundo Deportivo.
The Camp Nou hierarchy intend to rejuvenate Ronald Koeman’s engine room in the 2022 transfer markets. They want to add a new component who can deliver a greater physical presence than current favoured three Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri.
Tielemans is the cherry of Barcelona’s eye right now, but Kessie could prove an attractive proposition with his contract expiring. Talks between the Ivorian – who is a free agent from June – and AC Milan over new terms have stalled.
Reports by Gazzetta dello Sport claim Milan offered Kessie a net €6.5m-a/y (£107k-a/w) to renew. It marked an improvement to their earlier €4m-a-year (£66k-a/w) offer. But is still short of the €8m-a/y (£131k-a/w) demanded, which Barcelona would struggle to afford.
The Blaugrana are still working on lowering their eye-watering wage bill to help ease their crippling levels of debt. Barcelona would also face competition from Liverpool, Tottenham and Paris Saint-German for Kessie, with his future at Milan very uncertain.
Manchester United and Real Madrid, meanwhile, want Tielemans, who Leicester valued at around £60-65m this summer, per Fabrizio Romano. The price proved enough to fend off interest from Liverpool, with The Telegraph noting Jurgen Klopp is a real fan of the Belgian.
Leicester could strengthen their chances of retaining Tielemans by extending the Barcelona and Liverpool target’s contract, as well. Leicestershire Live report the Foxes are increasingly confident he will extend his King Power Stadium stay beyond 2023.
Tielemans to dictate Liverpool and Barcelona interest in Kessie?
Tielemans could dictate Liverpool and Barcelona increasing their interest in Milan’s Kessie by signing new and improved terms at Leicester. The Foxes would rightly refuse to lower their valuation with the Belgian’s long-term future secured, and could instead increase it.
And with Kessie a free-agent next year, the 24-year-old would be an increasingly attractive option for the Reds and Blaugrana. Adding, in no uncertain terms, the physicality Barcelona want to bring to the Camp Nou engine room.
He is also a creative box-to-box presence and a cool head from the penalty spot. Aspects that will appeal to the Catalan outfit’s hierarchy if his wage is not overly problematic. Leaving Liverpool at risk of missing out on two midfield targets in Tielemans and Kessie.