As much as new Juventus sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli wanted to bring former Milan midfielder Franck Kessie to Turin, it didn’t necessarily seem as strong on the other side of the equation. No matter how much it made sense, the reluctance of the player to come back to Italy
And now we know why.
According to reports from the likes of Fabrizio Romano and The Athletic, Kessié is close to joining Saudi Arabia side Al Ahli to become the latest player to head out of Europe because of a big-money contract in the Middle East. According to Romano, Barcelona has been offered €15 million to sell Kessié, who has already agreed to a three-year deal. This comes after a host of links to Juventus over the last few weeks, with the 26-year-old midfielder reportedly hesitant to return to Italy all of 12 months after he left Milan on a free.
Kessié had also been linked with a move to the Premier League, which was reportedly his preference before the Saudi Pro League stepped up its bid and offered to buy him outright.
Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie is close to finalising a €15m (£12.9m) transfer to Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli.— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) August 3, 2023
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As much as Kessié heading to Saudi Arabia is Juventus missing a target that Giuntoli couldn’t close on despite having interest in the player going back to when he was sporting director at Napoli, this must be said: Juve’s inability to sell players is something that continues to hold up any kind of activity when it comes to buying players and upgrading the roster. No matter if it’s players who are very much out of the project or even those who are on the fence and could be sold if a very good bid comes in, Juve’s roster has not been cut down to the point where they afford to add players both in terms of simple numbers or on a financial aspect of things.
And Kessié heading to the Saudi Pro League is just proof of that.
It certainly didn’t help Juve’s case that they wanted to add Kessié on an initial loan deal while Al-Ahli came in with straight cash — something that Barcelona is also in need of.
So now as we wait for Juventus to offload the likes of Denis Zakaria, Luca Pellegrini and others who are options to generate some sort of funds, you can cross Kessié off the list of players that could potentially arrive this summer. So it goes, it seems.