West Ham United will forever rue not signing Franck Kessie in the summer transfer window, as AC Milan are now reportedly striving to tie the midfielder down with a new contract.
According to Corriere dello Sport, via Sport Witness, David Moyes had big aspirations of improving the core of his midfield in the recent market, and sought to add Kessie as the missing piece of the jigsaw to partner Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek.
It is suggested there was no lack of effort on the Hammers’ part in moves to sign the Ivory Coast international, who also appeared as a potential target for Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.
Serie A rivals SSC Napoli and Inter Milan also held a strong approval of Kessie’s services, per Calciomercato, as the midfield powerhouse continued to impress game by game following his €28m (£25m) move to the San Siro in 2017.
But Kessie did not envisage leaving the San Siro this year as his preference has always been to remain with the Italian sleeping giants, who will now work on tieing the 23-year-old down with a new five-year deal once contracts are sorted for Gianluigi Donnarumma, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Kessie is currently contracted through to the summer of 2022 and has begun the campaign with starting roles in six of Milan’s seven league fixtures, as the Rossoneri enjoy an unbeaten start to sit top by two points during the November international break.
Kessie’s future with Milan came under doubt earlier in the summer as the Rossoneri lined Ralph Rangnick up to replace Stefano Pioli, before ultimately retained their head coach on a new contract after deeming the former RB Leipzig manager to not be the right fit.
It’s a decision that paid dividends for Milan, as Kessie has started the season as an integral aspect of Pioli’s plans and repaid that faith by scoring twice and assisting one goal, with each of his successful strikes opening the scoring in matches that would return all three points.
Kessie’s potential has been there to see for years, with former Milan boss and 2006 World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso once lauding the 38-cap international as being “far better” than he ever was, as the combative 23-year-old’s skill in the final third puts him into a different category to the Italian icon.
“Kessie is far better than I ever was, because he has seven or eight goals in his legs per season,” Gattuso told Mediaset, via quotes by Goal. “In any case, we’ve got to focus on the collective and not individuals.”
Kessie’s best Serie A season in front of the net came in 2018/19 when he struck home seven times and provided three assists, and has scored at least twice in every campaign since establishing himself with Atalanta in 2016.
West Ham will be ruing failing to land the enforcive presence Kessie could have brought to east London, having missed what could be their only shot at signing the Ivorian for years to come.