If Franck Kessie had ended up joining Chelsea in January, few would’ve been surprised. Looking to leverage his breakout season in the Serie A into a big-money move, the Atalanta midfielder was strongly linked with the Blues and Conte specifically. There were even rumors of a €25m bid from Chelsea, rejected in favor of holding out for something closer to €40m instead. Later, Kessie’s agent claimed that there “at least 20 clubs” chasing his client’s signature. It’s unclear if Atalanta ever got that fee, especially after the medical shenanigans, but today, AC Milan have announced that they’ve signed Kessie on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy in 2019. The rumored final purchase price is €28m (not counting any potential loan fees or performance bonuses), which is certainly a not €40m.
Kessie becomes Milan’s second big summer signing after center back Mateo Musacchio, formerly of Villarreal, who was briefly linked with Chelsea each of the past two summers. Another rumored Chelsea target, Alvaro Morata, is supposedly next in line for Milan’s new moneys.
The Cote d’Ivoire international’s medical may have played a part in this odd arrangement for his transfer, with the 20-year-old failing the first part of the three-part medical due to a cartilage issue in his knee. Some have taken those rumors to mean that there is an issue with the player’s age — not for the first time, it should be noted, following brief controversy at the U17 Africa Cup of Nations where the Moroccan FA accused Kessie of actually being almost six years older than he claimed (nothing came of it) — but the tests that FIFA conducts to verify player ages involve the wrist not the knee. In any case, Kessie eventually passed all three stages of Milan’s medical and signed on the dotted line.
The big-money signing could have knock-on effects for a couple Chelsea players, too. On the plus side, hopefully it means the end of the Cesc Fabregas rumors. How it might affect young Mario Pasalic however, who wants to stay in Milan but they no longer seem to be as welcoming as before the new owners arrived, remains to be seen.