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February 17, 2017
Atalanta and Ivory Coast star Franck Kessie has been recommended to Jose Mourinho by international team-mate and Manchester United defender Eric Bailly.
That’s according to an exclusive from The Sun‘s Daniel Cutts, who relayed the following from an unnamed United source: “Bailly has flagged his international pal Kessie to the club. He thinks he could be the new Yaya [Toure]. He was watched during the Africa Cup of Nations, and they like what they see. There [are] other clubs looking at him as well.”
Kessie only turned 20 in December but has established himself as a key component in La Dea’s midfield this season.
A powerful and dynamic box-to-box midfielder, he uses his intelligence, impressive physical strength and dribbling skills to make driving runs forward and an impact in the final third for his side.
When combined with his speed over the turf and excellent work rate, he’s a highly mobile presence in the centre of the park.
You can see Kessie put those skills into practice in a selection of his highlights:
Further, here’s a look at his numbers for the season, per Squawka:
|Kessie 2016-17 Serie A Stats|
With Morgan Schneiderlin sold to Everton, Michael Carrick turning 36 in the summer and Marouane Fellaini still not convincing, there’s plenty of room for United to bring in another midfielder who can compete with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera or feature alongside them.
Kessie has exceptional potential, so it’s little surprise he’s caught the eye of United, particularly when Bailly can make informed recommendations.
They could face a great deal of competition for him, though—Cutts reported Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus and AS Roma also have a keen interest in the player.
Meanwhile, reported United target James Rodriguez has seemingly put to bed the possibility of a move away from Real Madrid.
Per Metro‘s Mark Brus, he said: “I think that everything is fine, Real is a great club and I always wanted to play here. The good and bad times always come, but I want to stay here long [term].”
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The Colombian had looked likely to leave in January. The Mirror‘s John Richardson reported the 25-year-old was hoping to join the Red Devils, and his representative, Jorge Mendes, had begun talks with United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, but the player stayed put.
Rodriguez has started just four matches in La Liga this season and only completed 90 minutes on two of those occasions. For a player of his talent and value, he should be enjoying a starring role.
With Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Pogba at Old Trafford, United aren’t particularly lacking creativity, but he would be an upgrade on the declining Wayne Rooney in the No. 10 role, so there could be space for him.
The playmaker seems hopeful of making his Blancos career a success, but if his lack of game time continues, he could be on his way in the summer.