AC Milan have always looked open to selling Franck Kessie. Premier League side Wolves had an offer pegged back in the summer. It wasn’t because Milan rejected the offer, but because Kessie rejected the move.
Even in the past, Milan have tried to offer Kessie to clubs in an attempt to make a capital profit. Clubs like Tottenham and Arsenal have also drawn links with the midfielder. But every single time a Kessie transfer rumour emerges, it makes one wonder if the Rossoneri should really be letting him go.
Since joining from Atalanta, Kessie might never been a stylish player. He has always been known to be a grafter- a proper workhorse. That is exactly what he will always be known for at Milan and Bergamo.
While his move was made permanent only this past summer, Kessie always looked like a Milan player. He was never as technically supreme as how Rossoneri fans are used to seeing their players. But his heart and fire has always been evident every time he plays.
Former manager Rino Gattuso sometimes saw his old self in the Ivorian. He even praised Kessie for being better than he was. He told Premium Sport last year:
“Kessie is clearly stronger than me when I was a player, he has seven or eight goals per season in him.”
Last season was probably Kessie’s best in his career so far. Not just because he scored seven goals under Gattuso (Transfermarkt). But because of the faith he enjoyed under the Rossoneri legend. He was one of those players who would translate Gattuso’s football philosophies onto the pitch. Players like him are everything a manager would like.
The Ivory Coast international scored seven last season- second highest for the club. More than that, he was in his preferred role too. While Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko played as the defensive midfielder, Kessie had the responsibility to do both bits in midfield. He had to use his work-rate to track back. And maraud forward with the ball in attack.
That explains why he was decent for the Rossoneri in both parts of the game. He made 1.2 tackles per game, winning 0.8 interceptions per game as well. He also made the third-highest number of key passes per game – 1.3 (as per Whoscored)
Not just that, but Kessie also played the fourth-highest number of passes last season for Milan. His abilities provided venom and spice in midfield, giving others the fight to win the ball back and seek inspiration from his hunger.
This season hasn’t been a promising one at all for Milan, let alone Kessie. Under Marco Giampaolo, the Rossoneri were failing to combine in midfield. The technical requirements were missing and there was no balance in that part of the pitch.
Kessie isn’t the best player technically and he faced his own problems. The effort has never been questioned though. He always tried his best, covering a good amount of ground. Because of that, Milan fans have never criticized Kessie as much as Hakan Calhanoglu or Suso.
Last season’s performances saw Kessie’s value rise to about 35 to 40 million euros (Transfermarkt). For a club like Milan that operates on a tight budget due to financial issues, this was a big chance to earn some profit. The club’s decision to exclude itself from the Europa League is aimed at gaining financial stability.
What would have been a better time to earn a profit out of Kessie when he had enjoyed the best season of his career? That is a fair reasoning. But Milan would have to be realistic in a situation like this. Are there technically better players out there who can cover as much ground as Kessie?
Sandro Tonali is someone who can. He would fit right in if Milan are looking to replace Kessie. They will still get a profit out of selling the Ivorian, but it all comes down to how they replace him. Or they will miss his workrate and desire.