Man Utd fight Chelsea for ‘executioner of Real Madrid’ as Barcelona ‘settle’ for ‘little’ transfer fee

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd target Kessie

Man Utd and Chelsea are reportedly both interested in signing Franck Kessie from La Liga giants FC Barcelona, who are open to letting the midfielder leave.

Kessie made a major name for himself during his five-year spell at Serie A giants AC Milan between 2017 and 2022.

The midfielder played 223 times for AC Milan during this stretch. He helped them win the Serie A title last season before he moved on.

The 26-year-old was out of contract last summer. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United were linked with him ahead of the expiry of his deal.

Given their financial restraints, Barcelona have looked to exploit the free agent market in recent years and they fended off competition to sign Kessie.

The Ivory Coast international’s move to Barcelona has not gone entirely to plan. He has only managed to start four times in La Liga so far this campaign.

But he has been able to write his name in Barcelona folklore. He netted a late winner as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the El Clasico over the weekend. This win moved Xavi’s side 12 points clear at the top of the table.

Despite this, Spanish outlet Nacional are reporting that Barcelona ‘continue to have the idea of transferring the executioner of Real Madrid’ later this year.

The Spanish giants ‘want to take advantage of interest’ from ‘several Premier League and Serie A clubs’. Barcelona ‘will settle for little’ with €20-30m being ‘enough for them to open the exit door’.

Man Utd are ‘following’ Kessie as he would ‘fit into’ Erik ten Hag’s plans. The report notes that the Red Devils ‘seriously considered’ a move for the midfielder in January but ‘in the end they did not move a finger’.

As for Chelsea, co-owner Todd Boehly ‘likes Kessie a lot’ and they can ‘pay whatever is necessary’ to sign him

The Blues are ‘desperately looking for reinforcements in the core’. They are expected to ‘lose many pieces’ with ‘Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Carney Chukwuemeka, Mason Mount or Mateo Kovacic unlikely to stick around’.

Kovacic has been linked with Premier League rivals Man City of late.

Ben Jacobs has revealed that Chelsea would ‘like’ him to extend his contract beyond 2024 but City are ‘well aware of his situation’.

‘From Chelsea’s perspective, they’d like Kovacic to extend, especially with him being 28, which makes a bit of difference compared to others (like Jorginho, for example) in their thirties. Chelsea’s owners want to get the average squad age down,‘ Jacobs wrote for Caught Offside.

Manchester City, in particular, are well aware of Kovacic’s situation. Let’s not forget they also tried to sign him in 2018 from Real Madrid before his move to Chelsea. Although City’s top midfield target is Jude Bellingham, Guardiola may push for more than one midfielder especially due to other potential outgoings, including Ilkay Gundogan, whose future remains undecided.

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