Chelsea’s attempt to secure a cut-price replacement for Oscar has been thwarted.
The Premier League leaders are on the market for a midfielder following the Brazilian international’s £60m move to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG, but will have to up their game.
France Football reported on Tuesday that the Premier League leaders had lodged a €25m bid for Atalanta’s Franck Kessié, but the Guardian have followed that up less than 24 hours later by reporting that the offer has been rejected by the Serie A side.
Kassié has been one of the outstanding players in his side’s unexpected push for a Champions League place this season, sitting three places and three points behind third-placed Napoli, and has such has drawn attention from some of England’s biggest clubs.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United have all been linked with the player, but Atalanta’s asking price of €40m is likely to deter many suitors from following up on their interest in the highly-rated 20-year-old.
Any proposed deal would be further complicated by the fact that Kessié is due to be involved with the Ivory Coast in next month’s African Cup of Nations, which could see him absent for a number of weeks of the season.
Despite the setback, Kessié’s agent seems confident that a move to England could still be in the pipeline. Speaking to the Guardian, George Atangana namechecked the five aforementioned clubs and hinted that discussions over a move for his client are still due to take place:
“We have a lot of interest from the Premier League – Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal,
“I cannot say at this stage how much he will cost but we are talking about one of the best young players in the world. But for us the most important thing is that the technical project is the right one for him. Franck is very young so we have to be very careful about his development.
“Chelsea are very interested and it is a great club but we must take our time to consider all the options.”
Kessié’s asking price could see Chelsea revive their interest in Monaco midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko. The 22-year-old was believed to be high up on the Blues’ list of potential replacements for Oscar, but the €50m asking price placed on him by the French side led to manager Antonio Conte looking at alternatives.