London giants and current league leaders Chelsea are thought to be plotting a move for Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie, with other Premier League clubs like Arsenal, Everton, and Manchester City joining the bandwagon.
However, for a player who is still far from the finished product, his suitors should step back and reconsider splashing the cash on the 20-year-old Ivorian.
The defensive midfielder is enjoying a relatively high form playing for Atalanta this season, scoring seven goals and two assists in 17 matches overall for the Italian side. Apart from his contribution to goal-scoring, he is also a very stable midfield general, providing his team with incisive passes from a deep-lying role – prompting many to speculate that the Ivorian may well become the next Frank Lampard or Paul Scholes.
However, in the fickle world of football, clubs should not be too hasty in signing players just because they had a good start to the season. As former Atalanta striker Luca Saudati said it himself: “Kessie is a good player, but I would like to be cautious on my assessment of him after just four months.”
Saudati couldn’t have underlined it better when he heard of Kessie’s reported fee: “€25m is a lot of money. I’d wait a while.”
Apart from the large sum of money Saudati made a good point – Kessie is relatively new to the footballing world, and his performances thus far does not reflect the Ivorian’s talent as a whole. As Aristotle once said, “One swallow does not make a spring.” Kessie’s form at the moment may be red hot, but there are other factors in play that make him good at the moment – good coordination with team-mates, coach employing tactics that suit Kessie’s personality, even just sheer luck, all these have to be taken into account. If Kessie suddenly has a change of scenes after just half a season of good performances, who knows if that form will be maintained.
One need not look far than Manchester United, who thought they hit gold with then 17-year-old Federico Macheda, after netting the winning goal against Aston Villa during the 2008-09 season which saw them shoot up to the top of the table and eventually won the title.
Next season, and in the seasons that followed, Macheda failed to live up to his own hype and eventually left Old Trafford.
United were lucky. After all, Macheda came from their youth squad and was developed by their academy, so there was not much lost in terms of money. Imagine, however, had Macheda been bought from another club for a large sum – that would’ve been detrimental to Sir Alex Ferguson’s reputation of being a cunning customer in the transfer market.
Learning from that, Premier League clubs like Chelsea, while they have money to burn, should be thorough in their scouting of Kessie before making a move for him. Otherwise, they may find themselves eventually throwing money down the drain.