AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie is in talks to join Real Madrid on a free transfer when his contract expires in the summer, according to reports in Spain.
Kessie’s current deal with Milan runs out in June and the 25-year-old midfielder has stalled on signing a new contract at the San Siro.
Kessie is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs this month and the Ivory Coast international could now be set for a move to La Liga.
According to Spanish publication El Nacional, Kessie has opened talks with Real Madrid over a summer move to the Bernabeu.
The report claims Madrid are now favourites to land Kessie after club president Florentino Perez sent representatives to Milan to hold talks this week.
The news could come as a blow to Liverpool and Tottenham, who have both been linked with a move for the midfielder.
Reports in Italy claim Tottenham were ready to make a bid for Kessie this month - a straight swap deal that would have seen Tanguy Ndombele head to the San Siro.
According to Il Corriere della Sera and SportMediaset, Milan would prefer to keep Kessie until the end of the season even though they could lose him for free in the summer.
Kessie has scored 35 goals and provided 16 assists in 205 appearances for Milan after initially arriving on a two-year loan from Atalanta in 2017.
The Ivorian made the move permanent in 2019 and has developed into a key player for Stefano Pioli’s side, who are currently second in Serie A – one point behind leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is also said to be interested in Kessie but former Reds defender Jamie Carragher has urged the German to sign another midfielder, Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, instead.
When asked in a Q&A on Twitter who he would like Liverpool to sign in January, Sky Sports pundit Carragher said: “Jude Bellingham & the summer window is fine for me!”
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