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Soccer

Kessie and Christensen double transfer swoop for Barcelona

Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie are off to Camp Nou and will be playing in the Barcelona ‘azul-grana’ next season in LaLiga.

Update:
Kessie and Christensen double transfer swoop for Barcelona

Danish defender becomes Barça’s second signing of the transfer window, with Franck Kessie’s move from Serie A champions Milan – also on a free transfer – having been confirmed earlier on Monday.

It was a busy day in the FC Barcelona club offices as they confirmed the signing of Franck Kessie on a free transfer on Monday morning following the end of his spell with Milan.

San Siro to Camp Nou

The midfielder Kessie has agreed a four-year deal with the Blaugrana, which was made official on Monday following months of speculation.

Kessie spent five seasons at San Siro, the first two of those on loan, and helped Milan to their first Scudetto triumph in 11 years in his final campaign with the club.

He played in 31 of Milan’s 38 Serie A matches and scored six goals from midfield, a tally only bettered by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (eight), Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud (both 11).

Franck Kessie
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Franck KessieAFP7 vía Europa Press

However, fresh terms could not be agreed between the Rossoneri and Kessie, meaning the Ivory Coast international became a free agent on July 1.

Barcelona were always considered the strong favourites to land the 25-year-old, whose Camp Nou contract contains a €500million release clause.

Kessie will compete with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Gavi and Frenkie de Jong for a midfield spot, though the latter is expected to join Manchester United.

In all, Kessie played 174 Serie A games for Milan since initially joining from Atalanta in June 2017, with Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski (179) the only midfielder to feature more times.

Player photo
F. Kessié
  • Milan
  • centrocampista
  • Costa de Marfil

Danish dynamite in Catalan capital

Andreas Christensen was the second Barcelona signing of the day as he moves from Chelsea on a free transfer.

The centre-back has moved to Camp Nou after his contract with Chelsea expired at the end of June after Denmark international Christensen has agreed a four-year deal that includes a €500 millon buy-out clause.

Christensen had been linked with Barcelona for some time after it began to look likely he would not extend his stay in west London.

Barça president Joan Laporta confirmed on Saturday that Christensen’s deal would be officially completed and announced this week.

Christensen joined Chelsea from Brondby back in 2012 and made his professional debut two years later, but it was only after a two-year loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach that his Blues career began to take off.

He has made 167 appearances for the club in all competitions, including 26 last season, scoring four goals in total.

A Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup winner in his Stamford Bridge career, Chelsea won 92 of the matches in which Christensen featured.

Andreas Christensen
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Andreas ChristensenDAVID KLEINREUTERS

With Christensen and Kessie on board, Barça’s focus seems to be on completing a move for Leeds United winger Raphinha.

Chelsea have reportedly agreed a fee with Leeds for the Brazil international, but Laporta insisted Raphinha has indicated he instead wishes to join Barca, who are hopeful of striking a deal despite their financial issues.

The Catalan giants are also in talks with Ousmane Dembele over a new deal, with the France winger now a free agent, while Manchester United have an interest in Blaugrana midfielder Frenkie de Jong.