Soccer

Barca sign Kessie from Milan on free transfer

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Barcelona have confirmed the signing of midfielder Franck Kessie on a free transfer from Italian champions AC Milan, the club announced on Monday.

Kessie, 25, has joined Barca on a four-year deal after his contract expired with Milan on June 30.

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The midfielder has a €500 million release clause in his new contract, which runs to 2026. Barca will present him on Wednesday.

The Ivory Coast international’s move to Camp Nou ends his five-year stay at the Rossoneri where he made 224 appearances and scored 39 goals.

He becomes Barca’s first major signing of what is expected to be a busy summer, joining alongside Pablo Torre who they signed in June, with Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen‘s acquisition set to be announced in the coming days.

Kessie strengthens coach Xavi Hernandez’s options in midfield and will compete for a place in the team with Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Gavi and Nico Gonzalez.

Barca could be without another midfield option in Frenkie de Jong as he edges closer to a deal to join Manchester United this summer.

However, club president Joan Laporta has said Barca have no intention in letting the Dutch international leave Camp Nou.

If De Jong does leave, sources have told ESPN the club could target Wolves’ Ruben Neves and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi with an eye on replacing Sergio Busquets long-term. Carlos Soler and Bernardo Silva are also possible targets in the event they move for another midfielder.

After moving to Italy with Atalanta in 2015 and following a loan spell with Cesena, Kessie joined Milan on loan in 2017 before making the move permanently in 2019.

He played a central role this season as Milan won a first Serie A title in 11 years, scoring six times in 31 appearances, including one against Sassuolo last weekend as the league was wrapped up.

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