Exclusive: 26-year-old Barcelona midfielder made available for Liverpool this summer
Franck Kessie, the 24-year-old midfielder from Ivory Coast, is a versatile player who can play both in central and defensive midfield. Currently playing for Barcelona, Kessie has had a remarkable career so far. Can he become the missing piece for Liverpool’s need for reinforcements?
Kessie’s Impressive Stats Across Leagues
In his 23 appearances for Barcelona in La Liga, Kessie has scored one goal and assisted one while playing for 761 minutes. Similarly, he has played six matches in the Champions League, scoring one goal and playing for 273 minutes.
He has also played two Europa League matches, five Copa del Rey matches (scoring one and assisting two goals), and two Supercopa matches.
Kessié has been in the starting eleven 16% of the time, played for 27% of the total minutes, and has a 4% goal participation in La Liga.
In Serie A, he had an xG of 5.44 per season and an xAG of 4.92 per season. He has currently an xG of 1.2 and xAG of 1.9 in La Liga. His pass accuracy in La Liga is 83.3%, and in Serie A, it’s 86.3%.
From Atalanta to AC Milan: Kessie’s Rise
Kessié’s journey began when he left Ivory Coast at the age of 18 and moved to Italy in 2015, where he joined Atalanta. After spending time in the Primavera squad, he was loaned to Serie B side Cesena for the 2015/16 season, where he scored four goals in 37 league matches.
He was then brought back to Atalanta, and coach Gian Piero Gasperini immediately included him in the starting lineup. Kessié’s impact was immediate, as he scored twice on his Serie A debut. In Gasperini’s system, Kessié was tasked with doing the hard running in the middle of the park and providing adequate cover.
AC Milan was impressed by Kessié’s emergence at Atalanta and acquired him for €8 million on loan for two years, with an obligation to be bought outright for another €24 million.
Although Kessié’s form was not always consistent in his first two seasons with AC Milan, he has thrived under Stefano Pioli. In the 2020/21 Serie A season, Kessié played 37 matches, scored 13 goals, and provided four assists.
He had an 88.9% passing rate, and averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions, and 0.4 blocks per game, demonstrating his ability to perform his defensive tasks while keeping his ball distribution simple and effective.
Kessie has represented Ivory Coast at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and featured in all of his country’s four matches. Despite being eliminated by Spain in the quarter-finals, Kessié has proven himself to be a valuable player who can drive his team forward.
Overall, Kessié is a talented and versatile player who has demonstrated his ability to perform well in different leagues and competitions.
Franck Kessie: A Unique Addition to Barcelona
Franck Kessié has made a name for himself as a box-to-box midfielder with impressive physicality and passing ability. While his style may not fit Barcelona’s preference for a single defensive midfielder, his unique qualities make him a valuable addition to the team.
Furthermore, Kessié’s physical presence provides a new dimension to Barcelona’s midfield, as they currently lack a physically dominant midfielder. Gavi and Pedri are players who try to be more physical, but they don’t have the physique.
Kessié’s physical appearance makes him a driving force that can contain the opponents’ midfield threat. This gives him an edge in terms of pressing the opponents and winning the ball.
Kessié is also a good passer of the ball. He has better-passing accuracy than Sergio Busquets this season. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder is not afraid to go forward into the opponent’s area and create some chaos there while completing his defensive duties as well.
Klopp’s Liverpool: Can Franck Kessie Fit In?
Recently, Barça have transfer listed Franck Kessie for the upcoming summer transfer window while Barcelona manager Xavi has approved of his sale, prioritizing other positions.
On the other hand, Liverpool are in need of midfield reinforcements and had been linked with Kessié in the last summer. While he may not be fast or have a high number of tackles and pressures, he has the potential to improve under Klopp’s system.
Although Kessié is not the most creative player, his ability to pass the ball accurately and provide key passes makes him a valuable team player. A combative midfielder will definitely be an advantage for Klopp in games that are difficult.
Kessié’s ability to cover a lot of ground and provide defensive support while scoring goals from midfield can be an asset to any team and Klopp is no exception.
The competition to sign Kessié is fierce, with Roma, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, and Inter Milan all reportedly interested in the Ivorian midfielder.