Serie A sensation Franck Kessie came close to joining Sunderland over the summer but he did not meet the required level of international appearances to play in the Premier League, according to the player’s agent.
The Ivory Coast ace has enjoyed a stunning start to the season in Serie A with Atalanta, netting four goals in only three games – some going for a central midfielder.
This form has seen his name populate gossip columns across Europe and his agent, George Atangana, has revealed that he was very close to becoming a Sunderland player during the last transfer window:
“I can confirm now. It was all done, but the transfer was not possible for a regulation of the Premier League.” He told CalcioMercatoWeb.
“He does not meet the 75% attendance for the national team for a single appearance. He has made four and would need five to be welcomed in the Premier League.”
Kessie is likely to qualify for a work permit to play in the Premier League by the time the January window opens, with the 19-year-old currently a part of the Cote d’Ivoire squad as they prepare for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
However, the New Year may be too late for the Wearside club; CMW claim Italian giants Napoli and Juventus both are keen on the teenager.