Aston Villa to ‘rival’ Fulham in ambitious swoop for Barcelona summer signing

Aston Villa will look to sign a Barcelona outcast in January

Aston Villa are considering a move for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Futbol Total, via Sport. The Ivorian only joined the Catalan club in July.

Kessie spent five years with AC Milan after a two-year loan spell earned him a permanent move to the Italian giants in 2019. He went onto make over 170 league appearances for the club and became an important goalscorer for them, netting 13 goals in the 2020-21 campaign as he was named in the Serie A Team of the Year. He then went on to help Milan win the Serie A title the following season and unsurprisingly earned plenty of interest across Europe.

The 25-year-old went onto join Barcelona upon his contract expiry in July, signing a four-year deal with his buy out clause set at €500m. However, despite the excitement around Kessie’s arrival in Spain, he has only made two starts under Xavi and Aston Villa are looking to take advantage of their sticky financial situation by making a £12m bid in the January transfer window.

Barca had already struggled to register Kessie to play in La Liga and could be open to selling him for a profit, with the likes of Pedri, Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong all ahead of him in the pecking order at the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Aston Villa have made it clear they are eager to bolster their midfield, even after Douglas Luiz committed his future to the club.

With a number of stars underperforming for Villa this season including Phillippe Coutinho and John McGinn, Unai Emery could look to Kessie to bring competition for players that may feel their position in their team is secure. However, the report claims that Fulham are also interested in the midfielder and will look to rival the Midlands club for his signature. The Cottagers already added Joao Palhinha and Andreas Pereira to their ranks in the summer, though they may believe Kessie could be a bargain worth snapping up in January.

If Barcelona are open to a quick exit for Kessie then there will no doubt be a number of clubs queueing up for his services, while he may be eager to join a team competing in Europe next season. However, Emery’s success with Villarreal could make a move to the Premier League a tempting proposition.