Under Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona seem to have rediscovered their lost mojo. They were going through the fire, but gradually, the team started to strike the right chord and pulled themselves out of the fire. The newly appointed coach Xavi can be credited for this because of instilling self-belief among the boys and his signings of the old warhorses have proved to be a masterstroke.
Here we go. After verbal agreement reached days ago, Franck Kessié has signed as new Barcelona player until June 2026 – it’s gonna be four year deal, he joins as free agent from AC Milan. ?? #FCB
Kessié will receive €6.5m net salary plus add-ons. Medical already completed. pic.twitter.com/9kFCIPJXn5
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 22, 2022
The team which was reeling a few months ago is now vying for the top spot in La Liga and they are such a confident unit that they did not bother the pressure of playing against their bitter rivals – Real Madrid at their own den and scripted a 4-0 thrashing.
Over the last couple of months, Barca and Xavi signed Dani Alves, Pierre Aubameyang and Adama Traore – who have given Xavi the much-needed cutting edge that was missing for a long time. Xavi has given his signings the free role which they relish and never tinkered with their respective positions – that proved vital and automatically, the rest of the players started to follow the flow of the rhythm that Alves, Traore and Aubameyang instilled.
Barcelona have agreed to sign another experienced campaigner named Franck Kessie.
If midfield is the heart and soul of a team’s domination then Kessie has proven his worth as one of the heartbeats at the centre of the park in San Siro and AC Milan can never deny the contributions of this midfielder in their route to becoming one of the top sides in Italian Serie A yet again.
Franck Kessie might be the missing piece of the puzzle that is Xavi searching in the midfield.
Kessie burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old at Atalanta in the 2016-17 season.
? Dribble success rate in the league of Barcelona's midfielders this season:
✅ Frenkie De Jong – 86%
⌛ Franck Kessie – 80%
✅ Nico Gonzalez – 80%
✅ Pedri – 78%
✅ Sergio Busquets – 77%
? Good luck trying to get the ball… pic.twitter.com/owgyr2N1Pw
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 22, 2022
He had initially been signed by the Italian side two years earlier from his homeland, first playing in their Primavera youth side before spending a successful loan at Serie B team Cesena.
The Ivorian had a fantastic season in Serie A, scoring seven goals in 31 appearances in all competitions, immediately earning a big-money move to AC Milan for an eventual €28 million.
Despite his talent, Kessie’s first few seasons at Milan were up and down for a struggling and under-performing Rossoneri team.
However, following the arrival of manager Pioli, he finally exploded in the 2020-21 season.
He was a key player in a Milan team that led the Serie A championship for the first half of the campaign before running out of steam and eventually finishing second.
? Franck Kessié will play for Barcelona! ??
Fabrizio Romano reported that the Ivorian, who has already passed the medical tests, has signed a contract with Barça until June 2026. ? pic.twitter.com/XTo3jQ93H7
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) March 22, 2022
Kessie scored goals and produced productive assists.
This made him one of the best midfielders in the league.
He proved himself to be the complete midfielder, equally brilliant offensively, defensively and in all areas of the game.
Standing at 6ft tall, Kessie is built like a bull and boasts incredible upper body strength – impossible to shrug off the ball.
He is strong in the tackle but also very calm and composed on the ball.
play runs through Kessie pretty quickly and easily, but he does not really run the game itself like Sergio Busquets does, for instance. Still, the Ivorian retains possession, puts up at least respectable progressive numbers, and can occasionally burst away from pressure.
He lacks the world-class power and speed over the distance of a Frenkie de Jong, but Kessie can utilize a few quick touches to create space for himself.
?Tottenham Hotspur have ‘immediately pulled’ out of the race to sign Franck Kessie after learning his contract demands.
⏳Barçelona are nearing a “total agreement” to sign Kessie as a free agent.
— Last Word On Spurs (@LastWordOnSpurs) March 15, 2022
Most of his dangerous touches and shooting chances do not come from real powerful, penetrative runs beyond the forward line as we have seen from Frenkie de Jong. Instead, Kessie relies more on subtle positioning – drifting into a pocket between defenders or arriving at the edge of the box for a lay of.
While out of possession, Kessie often plays a key role in this pressing by stepping out to join the forward players. Kessie often ends up trying to disrupt play from the opposition’s deep-lying midfielders.
If Xavi kept with more of the traditional 4-3-3 with a single pivot, Kessie might fit well on the left and would be better there than taking on the distributive responsibilities of the lone pivot role.
A very good signing for Barcelona.