If Tottenham Hotspur supporters tuned into the Champions League clash between Liverpool and AC Milan hoping to witness a midfield masterclass from a man who appears to have emerged as their number one transfer target, they might have gone to bed feeling underwhelmed.
Franck Kessie, like the rest of a Milan side who were hassled, hurried and pressed into submission by Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Reds, failed to stamp his authority on a game which was far more one-sided than a 3-2 score line might have you believe.
How much of this was Kessie’s fault, however, is another matter entirely.
Yes, an Ivory Coast international once labelled the second coming of Yaya Toure lost his battle with the outstanding Jordan Henderson and the raking Fabinho, but Milan boss Stefano Pioli must take his share of the blame.
Sending Milan out with a two-man midfield of Kessie and one-time Arsenal youngster Ismael Bennacer, the Serie A giants were outnumbered in the centre of the park, Henderson, Fabinho and a revitalised Naby Keita running the game, while Diogo Jota dropped in to create a central quartet on occasions.
Kessie just couldn’t keep up. He wasn’t the only one.
Will Franck Kessie end up at Tottenham?
According to Calciomercato, Tottenham are willing to hand Kessie a £130,000-a-week contract in North London.
The former Atalanta star, who will be a free agent in the summer of 2022, would become their fourth-best paid player should he sign on the dotted line in North London.
While there was still the odd flash of quality from a man whose fearsome physical prowess would give even Cristiano Ronaldo a run for his money, that combination of drive, vision and energy which made Kessie one of Serie A’s finest footballers was missing in action at Anfield.
Are alarm bells ringing? Or was this simply a highly talented footballer struggling in an ill-fitting system against elite-level opposition?
This content could not be loaded Slow and sloppy on the ball. Keeps getting dispossessed. Slow to track back.
This content could not be loaded Watching Frank Kessie for Milan against Liverpool.