Thursday, September 29, 2022

Arsenal Among Clubs Interested In AC Milan’s Midfield Ace: A Good Option For Mikel Arteta?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Calciomercato, Arsenal remain interested in signing Franck Kessie. The AC Milan midfielder could soon be locked in contract talks at San Siro following his impressive performances in Serie A. However, there is interest from England, with both Arsenal and Tottenham keen on his services, even though Milan are unlikely to offload the player.

Franck Kessie: A lynchpin in the Milan midfield

Kessie was always regarded as a key player for AC Milan ever since his move from Atalanta in 2017. This season, however, the Ivorian international has emerged as one of the best midfielders not only in Serie A but also in Europe.

The 23-year-old has flourished under the leadership of Stefano Pioli, having already established a formidable midfield partnership alongside Ismael Bennacer. Their collective contributions have made Milan significantly stronger in the build-up and in transition phases, with the Rossoneri now leading the Italian league table with a healthy five-point lead over second-placed Inter.

A central midfielder by trade, Kessie appears to be a jack of all trade. Especially this season, the Ivorian has quite admirably played an all-round role for Milan, starting from his influence in the build-up to his ability to read the game.

Kessie is also a safe passer of the ball, which combines well with the more exploring nature of Bennacer. These two are known for their tenacity as well, which helps the Rossoneri become more solid in their second line of press. And it has been reflected in their performances this season.

Arsenal remain interested in signing Franck Kessie - A leader among men.
AC Milan’s Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Fiorentina on November 29, 2020 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Is Kessie A Viable Option For Arsenal?

Arsenal did extremely well to secure the services of Thomas Partey in the summer. However, they have been unfortunate this season, with the Ghanaian struggling with fitness problems while both Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos have failed to maintain a level of consistency. As a result, the Gunners are now in need of a reliable central midfielder who can partner Partey.

Kessie is an excellent long-term option. The AC Milan midfielder can provide defensive support to Partey by providing the tenacity as well as the physical presence in the middle of the park. It should ultimately allow Mikel Arteta to shift away from his three-man backline and adopt a more traditional back-four.

In addition, the 23-year-old is an excellent passer of the ball, which is combined with the player’s positional understanding. It should bode well for Arsenal, with Arteta already a keen follower of Pep Guardiola’s positional play.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, however, it appears unlikely that Milan would want to part ways with Kessie anytime soon. The north London giants should also find it difficult to fund a move for the midfielder following a busy transfer window, so it would perhaps be wiser for Arteta to shift his attention towards other more gettable alternatives.

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