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Franck Kessie contract stand-off and salary demands as Man Utd and Arsenal eye transfer

The AC Milan midfielder is out of contract at the San Siro next summer, and two of his international teammates are already playing their club football at Old Trafford

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As Manchester United continue to lose ground on their Premier League rivals, the failure to add a top central midfielder over the summer has been suggested as a factor.

United have seen the benefit of Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals and Raphael Varane’s experience in central defence, but the recent defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City have emphasised their shortcomings in the middle of the park.

One of the players linked with a move is Franck Kessie, who helped AC Milan finish second in Serie A last season but is out of contract next summer.

The Ivorian could be available for a discount in January, with a standoff over a potential new deal in Italy, but United could face a fight for his services with Arsenal also thought to be keen.

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Kessie joined Milan from Atalanta in 2017


AFP via Getty Images)

After beginning his career with Atalanta, Kessie joined Milan on loan in 2017 before completing a permanent move two years later.

He has scored more than 30 goals for the Rossoneri, more than half of them from the penalty spot, and finished last season as the club’s second-highest league scorer behind former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

However, with time running out on his deal, Kessie’s reported demands are some way north of what Milan are believed to have offered so far.

According to reports in Italy, the Ivory Coast international is holding out for €9m per year (around £150,000 per week), with his club offering €6.5m.

This would make him one of the club’s highest earners, though Ibrahimovic would retain the number one spot.

The sum would not put him close to the top of United’s highest earners, though, while Arsenal – who were linked with a move before adding Albert Sambi Lokonga to their ranks over the summer – also have several players earning more than the amount Kessie is reportedly after.

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Kessie spoke over the summer about hoping to stay at Milan “forever”, but is still waiting on a resolution to his contract situation.

Two of his international teammates are already at Old Trafford, with Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo both joining him in the Ivorian Olympic squad, while Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe has also played with him for the African country.

Former Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has issued Kessie with a warning, though, ahead of a crossroads in the player’s career.

“I believe he should put his career at the first place and then obtain the best from an economic point of view,” Seedorf said, suggesting Milan shouldn’t overspend to keep him at the club.

“Kessie has done really well at Milan, but the Rossoneri sit rock bottom in their Champions League group and I don’t think he was decisive to win the Serie A title.”

Milan are joint-top of Serie A after an unbeaten start to the season, with Kessie scoring in wins over Verona and Roma, but need to win their last two Champions League games to stand any chance of making it out of their group.

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