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Xavi explains Tottenham target’s absence in Barcelona’s latest friendly

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Barcelona's Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie (L) fights for the ball with Real Madrid's German midfielder Toni Kroos.

Xavi explains why Tottenham Hotspur target Franck Kessie missed Barcelona’s latest friendly vs AC Milan

Barcelona’s Franck Kessie has been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus in recent weeks.

So, when the Ivory Coast international was not handed a single minute in their 1-0 pre-season win against AC Milan at the Allegiant Stadium yesterday, there were questions if an exit was neigh.

Pre-season games, after all, are there for the purpose of dividing playing time between every player in the squad, especially ones who are on the fringes of first-team action. There was no reason for Kessie to miss the game unless he had a fitness problem.

Franck Kessie of FC Barcelona controls the ball in front of Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during a pre-season friendly at SoFi Stadium.
Franck Kessie of FC Barcelona controls the ball in front of Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during a pre-season friendly at SoFi Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

And that proved to be the case. Xavi confirmed, via the Evening Standard:

“Franck Kessie did not play due to a slight illness… Regarding his future, he knows exactly what the situation is.”

What next for Kessie?

Those words are telling. It hints towards the possibility that the 26-year-old could already be sold by Barcelona after being signed just last summer from AC Milan on a free transfer.

It could be a great way for the financially troubled Catalan club to raise cash. Moreover, they have lost one midfielder this summer (Sergio Busquets) and signed two — Ilkay Gundogan and Oriol Romeu.

In essence, Kessie’s exit wouldn’t hamper their depth to a great extent. But the problem for Spurs, in this case, lies with Juventus. They have apparently agreed on a loan-to-buy deal for the former Atalanta midfielder.

The Ivorian is clearly struggling for playing time under Xavi Hernandez, who has Gavi, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Gundogan and Romeu at his disposal. At Spurs, he can rest assured that he can get playing alongside Rodrigo Bentancur.

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That is especially the case if Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg seals an exit this summer. In that case, signing a new midfielder would become a pressing matter for the club’s board.

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