One of the most reliable sources in football has confirmed Chelsea are trying to sign Atalanta’s young prodigy Franck Kessie this month.
Gianluca Di Marzio, famously trustworthy on Italian transfers, is reporting Antonio Conte’s side have identified the Ivorian as one of their primary targets for the window.
While he may not arrive before the summer, it’s looking increasingly likely the Blues will get their man. We’ve profiled the man in demand right here.
Still just twenty, Kessie’s game is understandably raw but his ability is abundantly clear. He operates in central midfield for the Italian side often in a box-to-box role becoming the engine for La Dea. He’s best when playing on the right of a midfield partnership, picking the ball up and driving at the opposition backline.
As seen on these pass map graphic from Twitter user @11tegen11, Kessie predominantly resides quite wide on the right and boasts excellent link-up play with his full-back and winger.
— 11tegen11 (@11tegen11) October 23, 2016
The defensive side of his game unquestionably still needs to improve if he is to come into the Chelsea side with his statistics dwindled by Nemanja Matic and Ngolo Kante, Conte’s current partnership.
The real attraction for the league leaders in Kessie lies in the fact that Atalanta are already operating in a 3-4-3 system similar to the one they themselves employ. Liam Twomey of ESPN writes:
“His athleticism, tenacity and good decision-making ability on the ball make Kessie a natural fit for one of the two central midfield roles in Gian Piero Gasperini’s complex and dynamic 3-4-3 system, and six goals in 16 Serie A appearances suggest he offers plenty of attacking ambition too.”
Looking at a pass map from Chelsea, it’s clear Kante and the Ivory Coast international ply their trade in almost identical roles.
The starlet ticks all the boxes for Conte and while the asking price, rumoured to be in the region of £34 million, seems steep, but considering all he could offer at Stamford Bridge, it could turn out to be a bargain.
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena