Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has reportedly given the thumbs up for the club to press ahead with the signing of AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. The Ivorian is on numerous radars due to his well-publicised contract stand-off with the Italian side, although Spurs could use their Conte advantage to get the deal over the line.
Conte remains undefeated after three games in the job, scraping a narrow win over Leeds United on Sunday.
Performances remain far from convincing, but a 2-1 comeback demonstrated encouraging character, and Conte’s emotion was plain to see after the final whistle.
The Italian embraced a number of his players on the pitch after an improvement during the second half, and three points has seen them move up to seventh in the table.
Although Conte showed solidarity with his players, improvements are still expected in the January transfer window, and he has supposedly given the green light on a deal for Kessie.
“The talk of Kessie at AC Milan is not going away,” Sky Sports reporter Michael Bridge told Give Me Sport.
“There’s talk in Italy that Spurs really want him and Conte’s given the thumbs up.”
The 24-year-old is valued at £49.5million, although he could be available for considerably cheaper due to his contract situation.
With just over six months left to run, Spurs could be rewarded with a free transfer next summer if they have the patience to wait that long.
From January 1 onwards, Kessie would be at liberty to negotiate pre-contract terms and rubber stamp a summer exit from Milan.
If the Italian giants would prefer to cash in on the midfielder while they still can, Spurs could negotiate a cut-price January deal, although they would have to fend off interest from rival suitors.
Last season, he bagged 13 goals in Serie A alone – an impressive return for an all-action midfielder.
He has added two more to his collection this term as AC Milan keep pace with Napoli at the top of the Serie A table.
That much has not gone unnoticed around Europe, with Manchester United and Arsenal set to provide competition close to home when it comes to Kessie’s signature.
Spurs could hold a distinct advantage in boasting Conte as boss though, with many of his managerial achievements coming in Italy.
Kessie is a 51-cap Ivory Coast international, but having spent his entire career in Conte’s homeland, he will be fully aware of his managerial credentials.
With contract talks stalling, wages are likely to remain a key issue in any prospective deal, so the Tottenham boss is sure to put pressure on those above him to make sure the necessary money is put on the table.