With Franck Kessie’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, numerous clubs have expressed interest in signing him on a free transfer.

The Ivorian midfielder has attracted interest from both Italian clubs and teams abroad as a renewal with AC Milan continues to look unlikely as both parties are far from an agreement.

Milan have refused to increase their €6.5m per year offer as Kessie is holding out for around €9m, which would make him the second-highest earner on the team behind Zlatan Ibrahimović.

According to Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla, FC Barcelona have emerged as the most likely destination for Kessie, who seems destined to follow in Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Çalhanoğlu’s steps and leave on a free transfer.

“Franck is now separated from the Rossoneri, if he were to renew it would be the most unexpected story in five years. The unthinkable could always happen, but it now appears that their paths will diverge.”

“Kessie has been associated with everyone, from Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham, as well as Inter and Juve,” he adds.

“In reality, at least today, his contacts are most frequent with Barcelona. There was a verbal agreement that starts with a fixed amount of €8 million net per season, plus add-ons reaching at least €10 million.”

Pedulla continues, “If Kessie is amenable the proposal, it could quickly get over the finish line, in a few weeks we will be much closer to knowing the outcome.”

Since arriving for €28m from Atalanta in 2017, Kessie has amassed 36 goals and 16 assists in 210 appearances for the Rossoneri. 

Milan fans have continuously grown frustrated with the thought of losing yet another key player on a free transfer. Still, Kessie will continue to be a key player for Stefano Pioli until his probable departure.