Franck Kessie is reportedly on his way to Barcelona after five years in AC Milan and he leaves with his stock high.
The Ivory Coast international rarely missed a game and was Milan’s midfield lynchpin as they dislodged cross-town rivals Inter Milan to claim the 2021-22 Serie A title after being taken down to the wire.
The story of last season
Kessie ended the season in the most-memorable fashion as Milan won a first Scudetto in 11 years after pipping Inter by just two points on the final day.
It was a befitting end to a season that had started with promise especially after Milan finished second in the previous campaign 12 points behind champions Inter.
Kessie played a big part in Milan’s title success, sitting in midfielder and driving the Rossoneri forward while shielding a defence that ended the season as the joint-best in Serie A after conceding 31 goals - same as third-placed Napoli.
The Ivorian midfielder oscillated between defensive and central midfield, partnering with Ismael Bennacer in the early parts of the season before the Algerian was dropped for Sandro Tonali who formed an unbreakable bond with him to drive Milan to the title.
Kessie was not just about protecting his defence, he also chipped in with goals, his driving runs forward yielded seven goals which was an impressive return for a defensive midfielder.
He finished the campaign with 39 appearances in all competitions, 31 in the league, as Milan claimed the title.
The only disappointment for Kessie was that Milan were unable to challenge on the continent as they finished last in their Champions League group that had Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and FC Porto.
However, winning Serie A trumped everything else and Kessie played a major part in the title triumph. After announcing that he would be leaving as a free agent after five years in Milan, the Rossoneri would not have wished for a better sendoff.
- Getty Images
Any transfer rumours
Having opted not to renew his contract with Milan, Kessie has reportedly agreed to join Spanish giants Barcelona as a free agent from next season.
- Getty Images
One big hope for 2022/23
With Frankie de Jong reportedly on his way to Manchester United and Sergio Busquets coming to the end of his career, there is hope that Kessie will be Barcelona’s new midfield lynchpin next season as coach Xavi plots a route back to La Liga and Champions League success for the club.
One big fear for 2022/23
Dislodging the likes of Busquets, Gavi and Pedri will not be easy for Kessie and the fear is that Xavi might opt to go with his tried and tested, leaving the Ivorian star stranded on the bench which could be a big waste for a player who has played almost every game in the last five years.
GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23
With his tenacity, energy and forward runs, Kessie is likely to be a revelation for Barcelona and we are backing him to score close to 10 goals, especially if given a free role by Xavi, since none of the Blaugrana’s current midfielders possesses the goalscoring abilities of the former Atalanta man.