The last time we wrote about Franck Kessie was late in January, and it wasn’t good news. In that report from January 24, Kessie had decided to turn down an accepted January agreement between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan because he wanted to move on a free transfer to Barcelona when his contract expires this summer. It kind of made sense from Kessie’s perspective — why come to the fifth best club in England when you can sign with one of the biggest clubs in world football?
Well, fast forward a couple of months and there’s a new report from Spanish daily Sport (via SportWitness) that suggests that maybe Barca aren’t quite as into Kessie as what we all thought. According to a short write-up in Sport’s print edition, Barca are backing away from a summer transfer to Tottenham due to the “bulky economic conditions” that would accompany his potential transfer. In short, Kessie wants the whole bag, and Barca are just screwed up enough financially to make that difficult.
Now, these kinds of reports in Spanish outlets like Sport are extremely wishy-washy, so we should absolutely not take them at face value. But let’s pretend for a second that it’s accurate — that same report goes on to say that Spurs are a viable backup option for Kessie, along with Juventus and Inter Milan.
We know that Kessie was a high-level target for Fabio Paratici this past summer, enough that they tried to actually pay money to purchase him in January rather than wait on his contract to expire. We can also infer that Spurs are likely to pull out (at least some of) the stops this summer to continue Antonio Conte’s squad refresh, and that Tottenham may be willing to pay more in wages for Conte’s preferred players, especially if they don’t have an accompanying transfer fee to another club.
Is this report reliable? Probably not. I mention it only because this kind of stuff happens all the time in the transfer market, especially concerning players on free transfers. If Kessie remains a top target for Conte and Paratici, I expect Spurs to give it the ol’ college try; Barcelona dropping out would clear one huge obstacle to signing Kessie, and financially I’m pretty sure they can hang with the likes of Inter and Juventus. It mostly means that we’re probably going to continue to be talking about Franck Kessie again throughout the spring and possibly into the summer transfer window.