Won 16 Of 29 Headed Duels – Should Tottenham Add This African Whiz-kid To Their Ranks In Jan?

Serie A hot cake Franck Kessie, has attracted the big clubs following his exploits in the Italian top flight league since the start of the season, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Juventus all reportedly interested in landing the 20-year-old Ivorian midfielder.

Spurs look to have come out tops of the race to land Kessie after reports emerged that they have tabled a £19.4million  bid before Atalanta ahead of a January switch, while their strongest competition for the signature of the midfield prodigy Juventus, have pulled out.


But should he be top priority for Spurs for the winter transfer window? And do Tottenham really need him?

Without an iota of doubt, Franck Kessie is a hugely talented centre midfielder, and his transition from a centre back to a defensive midfielder, and eventually a rock at the heart of Atalanta’s midfield within a very short while signifies just how brilliant the youngster is.

Not very often do the big boys come calling for a 20-year-old with just 6 months of regular first team football under his belt, and while many might be quick to label him strictly “one for the future”, 15 Serie A starts for a 6th placed club after 17 games looks like a tally only established players and veterans rack up.

The player who made his debut for a star-studded Ivory Coast national team at 17 years of age has 6 goals and 1 assist to his name this season, and has created 12 other goalscoring chances. Kessie has also completed 575 of 692 of his attempted passes (83% success rate), and 12 of 23 of his shots have hit the target.

Being a brilliant dribbler, the African whizkid has only failed to complete 10 of 37 attempted take-ons. He has won 16 of 29 headed duels, and just 16 of his 50 tackles. These numbers for a recently turned 20-year-old are huge, and it’s not surprising Pochettino is keen to add him to his young squad at the White Hart Lane.

However, a midfielder shouldn’t be top of the agenda for Tottenham considering the crop of talents they currently parade in that position. Wanyama and Dembele are the club’s first choice midfield pairing, with Eriksen and Winks next in line in the pecking order whenever a substitute is to be called upon.

The experience and work rate of the starting centre midfield duo are much more better than Kessie’s, and it’s almost impossible to see him pip Dembele to a starting spot in that lineup, while his inability to come out tops in tackles means Wanyama’s berth would remain untouched.

Just for the records, Dembele has completed 34 of 40 attempted take-ons, while Wanyama has won 30 of 83 tackles. Unless Pochettino is looking at making Kessie a squad player, landing him isn’t necessary. It’s unfathomable to see such rising talent agree to a move elsewhere unless he is guaranteed of regular playing time.

At the moment, both club and player don’t need each other. Continuing his steady development at Atalanta would be best for Kessie until he is ripe for that inevitable big move, while Spurs can really do with another quality striker come January.

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