Franck Kessie has never been far from the back pages in Italy ever since we were linked with a move for the Ivory Coast international, and last weekend was no different, with his actions since being described as ‘shameful’.
While in action for AC Milan against Lazio on Saturday, the 22-year-old celebrated his game-winning strike by holding aloft the jersey of their opposition’s Italian centre-back Francesco Acerbi.
The two outfits are rivalling each other for the final spot in next season’s Champions League, with their latest encounter dubbed the ‘€50million match’ for the value the UEFA competition offers.
Acerbi had given Milan reason to amp up the tension heading into the game, too, with the 31-year-old noting prior to kick-off: “We’re going there to win, we are better than Milan. As individual players, there is no comparison.”
Kessie, and Chelsea-loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko, though, have been slammed by the Italian press for the way they celebrated, with Calciomercato writing: “The gesture of Bakayoko and Kessie with Acerbi’s shirt in his hand is unacceptable: a shameful mockery of a newly defeated opponent.”
It was not the first time in recent weeks that Kessie has come under the scrutiny of his club, either. The 27-cap ace was slapped with a fine for reacting angrily to his substitution in the Milan Derby, where he exchanged some choice words with Lucas Biglia on route to the bench.
Celebrating his game-winning strike with Acerbi’s jersey, and fifth goal of the season, however, has not seen Kessie slapped with another cash fine by the Rossoneri, with Calciomercato noting Milan’s top management have accepted the player’s apology and clarification.
The central-midfielder’s time at the San Siro could soon be over regardless, though, as Corriere dello Sport, via Calciomercato, have run claims that Milan will be willing to sell their integral first-team member in the summer for €35million (£30.2m).
That price would offer Milan an €11m (£9.5m) profit on the €24million (£20.7m) option-to-buy they will have to hand Atalanta in the summer, but will give them the chance to start afresh and draw a line under the Ivorian’s recent issues.
It is, however, €5m (£4.3m) less than what Wolverhampton Wanderers reportedly offered last summer, and saw knocked back due to his importance at the San Siro.
Kessie has featured in the starting XI of Gennaro Gattuso’s Serie A side 88% of the time this season, as well as each Coppa Italia tie so far.