LOWDOWN: Franck Kessie and his Milan future

With questions emerging about Franck Kessie’s future at Milan beyond the next season, Mark Gordon provides a lowdown of how things are looking for the Rossoneri and the Ivorian.

Franck Kessie will be missing from the Milan squad when the Rossoneri get their 2021/22 Serie A campaign underway on Monday against Sampdoria. Injury has ruled the Ivorian out of the season opener but it is his ongoing contract negotiations that may have Milan fans a little more worried.

Kessie has a year left on his current deal and despite expressing his desire to stay at San Siro, he has yet to come to an agreement on an extension. The midfielder has been the centre of much transfer speculation over the summer with Liverpool, Tottenham and Real Madrid all being linked with a move for the 24-year-old.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported earlier in the summer that the player was keen to extend his stay with Stefano Pioli’s side. He was even quoted at the time as saying that he wanted to stay with Milan ‘forever’. It was expected that Kessie’s contract extension would be finalised upon his return from the Olympics where he and his countrymen were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Spain.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Kessie had been offered a new contract worth €5 million a year but it seems he is yet to be convinced enough to put pen to paper. After losing Hakan Calhanoglu to Inter over the summer Pioli will be desperate not to lose another of his midfield before the start of the season.

It seems like both parties want a deal done and if an agreement is reached this week, it would be a huge boost ahead of match day one. The midfielder was a key component of Pioli’s side last season as Milan finished runners-up to rivals Inter. As well as not wanting to lose his influence on the pitch, Milan will not want to see Kessie leave for free at the end of the season as Calhanoglu did.

Kessie will already miss a portion of this season due to African Cup of Nations duty in January. He barely missed any football during the last campaign, playing in 37 of Milan’s 38 Serie A matches. The expected arrival of Yacine Adli from Bordeaux will boost Pioli’s midfield options but holding on to Kessie might be key to building on last season’s positive campaign.

Sandro Tonali made his loan move permanent during the summer break and he, along with Algerian international Ismael Bennacer, will provide options in the middle of the park for Mister Pioli. The manager will be eager to hear that Ivorian Kessie has signed on the dotted line however and he’ll be hoping to receive that news from sporting director Paolo Maldini sooner rather than later.

By Mark Gordon

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