Manchester United have reportedly stepped up their interest in AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie as the club’s hierarchy searches for Paul Pogba’s potential successor.
According to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport (as relayed by Daily Mail), the Red Devils have identified the Ivory Coast international as a possible replacement for Pogba should he decide to depart next summer.
Kessie is in a similar situation to United’s World Cup winner as his current contract at San Siro is set to expire in under 12 months time, meaning he’s free to negotiate with non-Italian clubs from January.
Previous reports have claimed that the 24-year-old wants an €8m (£6.8m) yearly salary – around £132,000-a-week – but Milan are only offering €6.5m (£5.5m), meaning an imminent exit could be on the cards.
With Pogba continuing to be linked with a move to either Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, supporters of the Old Trafford outfit will surely be delighted to learn that the club’s chiefs have a solid contingency plan in the event of his departure.
Kessie has established himself as one of Serie A’s most dominant engine room operators in recent years, playing a pivotal part in Milan’s second-place finish last season.
As per WhoScored, only Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored more than the Ivorian’s 13 league goals for the Rossoneri throughout 2020/21, whilst he also averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.2 dribbles per top-flight fixture.
The box-to-box dynamo’s ability in both defence and attack would, therefore, be invaluable to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges as the Norwegian tactician aims to find a balance in the middle of the park.
Although a holding midfielder appears to be the priority for the Old Trafford outfit as they plan for further midfield additions in the upcoming windows, Kessie’s arrival on English shores would be a significant coup.
It remains to be seen if football director John Murtough makes a concrete offer for the Ivorian, but many supporters will be hoping he can get this deal over the line. After all, he feels like the perfect heir to Pogba in the middle of the park.
If the Frenchman leaves, supporters won’t be pleased but this signing could help counteract an angsty feeling at Old Trafford.