With the Premier League campaign now seven games in, managers are beginning to draw up their January transfer wish lists. And one man attracting interest on these shores is Atalanta prodigy Franck Kessie.
The 19-year-old midfielder spent last season on loan at Serie B outfit Cesena, making 37 appearances and scoring four times.
Equally adept in central midfield or in a more defensive holding role, the Ivory Coast international is – like Paul Pogba – both a tough-tackling enforcer, and a naturally creative and intelligent player.
Both have also broken into the team at highly-rated Serie A outfits at a young age, and adapted well to the physicality and tactical nous of the Italian top-flight.
But it’s Atalanta man Kessie who has made the more instant impact in the division, netting four times in six league games already this season, while Pogba managed just five in the whole of his first Serie A campaign at Juventus.
Each has also matured quickly and learnt from an experienced and hard-working midfield partner. For Pogba, that was Chilean bruiser Arturo Vidal. With Kessie, it’s a player of similar tenacity and work rate, in the form of no-nonsense Slovakian Jasmin Kurtic.
With Transfermarkt.co.uk estimating Kessie’s asking price at £3.4m, he could be available at a tiny fraction of the £89m Pogba cost Manchester United this summer.
Everton would certainly be a good fit for the midfielder, with the goal-shy Toffees having netted just 11 in their first seven Premier League games – the lowest total of any top-six side right now – while could also build a well-balanced partnership with Idrissa Gueye.
However, it’s Chelsea who are reportedly most interested, with boss Antonio Conte keeping a keen eye on Serie A, having already recruited Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina this summer.
The Blues are next in action against Leicester on Saturday, with 4/7 for the west London outfit to make it back-to-back wins in the Premier League.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing