Barcelona sign former AC Milan's Kessie

Staff WritersAP
Franck Kessie has left Italian champions AC Milan to join Barcelona on a free transfer.
Camera IconFranck Kessie has left Italian champions AC Milan to join Barcelona on a free transfer. Credit: AP

Former AC Milan midfielder Frank Kessie has signed for Barcelona.

The 25-year-old arrives on a contract until June 2026 and a buyout clause of 500 million euros ($A760 million).

The move could accelerate Frenkie de Jong's speculated transfer to Manchester United.

Kessie will be officially introduced on Wednesday. He will be the second Ivorian to play for Barcelona, after Yaya Toure in the late 2000s.

Kessie has 58 international appearances and played at the Tokyo Olympics as Ivory Coast reached the quarterfinals.

Kessie moved to Italy in 2014 to sign for Atalanta, where he played in the club's youth squads before joining second-division team Cesena on a loan. Coach Gian Piero Gasperini eventually brought him back to Atalanta and he scored twice in his Serie A debut in 2016.

Kessie joined Milan on loan in 2017 and permanently signed with the club in 2019 for 33 million euros ($A50 million). He helped AC Milan win its first title in 11 seasons this year. In his six seasons with Atalanta and Milan, Kessie scored 45 goals.

Barcelona called Kessie "the complete package" and a "strong midfielder with tactical awareness."

"Kessie is a player who contributes in attack and in defence," the club said. "Capable of winning the ball back in midfield, the African midfielder also has impressive stats as a goal-scorer, partly due to his ability to make runs into the penalty area."

Barcelona are reported to be in discussions with Manchester United about selling De Jong though president Joan Laporta said at the weekend Barca "have no intention of selling him, he wants to stay, we are happy to have him."

But Laporta added: "I'm going to do everything I can in my power so that Frenkie stays here, but there's also a salary issue and that would have to be adjusted."

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