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Don't call it a bidding war: Atalanta reject €25m Chelsea offer for midfielder

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Round 1.

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The Franck Kessié saga is just beginning.  Chelsea tried to get a jump on our rivals by opening the bidding at €25m — rivals who include Arsenal, Liverpool, both Manchester clubs, and perhaps even Spurs (oh and Juventus, surely) — but Kessié's current club Atalanta have rejected it.  According to the Guardian, Atalanta are looking for almost double the offer at €40m.

Kessié's agent is clearly looking to play the field, while also remaining cognizant that his client will soon be off to the Africa Cup of Nations, which isn't exactly a strong negotiating position for a January transfer.

"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. Now we are in January so he has to play at the African Cup of Nations for Ivory Coast so I am not going to rush anything."

-George Atangana, agent; source: Guardian

It's all setting up for a summer saga, unless Chelsea (or one of the other suitors) can get something done early.  That might be our intention, though other reports, such as Matt Law in the Telegraph claim that Chelsea, while very much interested, haven't even made a bid yet.

Hmmm...