Soccer

Football transfers | Barcelona signs Kessie, Christensen; Arsenal unveils Jesus signing


While Barcelona roped in free agents Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, Arsenal signed Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City, who in turn confirmed the signing of Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips

While Barcelona roped in free agents Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, Arsenal signed Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City, who in turn confirmed the signing of Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips

Barcelona boosted its midfield and defense by signing Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on Monday. The 25-year-old Kessie, who had been playing for AC Milan since 2017, arrives as a free agent on a contract until June 2026 and a buyout clause of €500 million ($522 million).

Christensen comes after his contract with Chelsea ended. His deal is also until 2026 and contains the same buyout clause as Kessie’s. Kessie will be officially introduced on Wednesday. The Ivory Coast midfielder will be the second Ivorian to play for Barcelona, after Yaya Touré in the late 2000s.

The 26-year-old Christensen will be introduced on Thursday. The Danish central defender joined Chelsea’s youth teams in 2012 and had a stint with Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga before returning to Chelsea.

Christensen helped Chelsea win the Champions League, the Europea League and the Club World Cup, and was on the Danish national team that reached the semifinals of the 2020 European Championship.

Barcelona called him “strong and with great vision, a powerful center back who is excellent in the air” and “technically proficient with the ball at his feet, a perfect fit” for the Catalan club.

Kessie has 58 international appearances with his national team and played at the Tokyo Olympics as Ivory Coast reached the quarterfinals.

Kessie moved to Italy in 2014 to sign for Atalanta, where he played in the club’s youth squads before joining second-division team Cesena on a loan. Coach Gian Piero Gasperini eventually brought him back to Atalanta and he scored twice in his Serie A debut in 2016.

Kessie joined Milan on loan in 2017 and permanently signed with the club in 2019 for €33 million ($34.5 million). He helped AC Milan win its first title in 11 seasons this year. In his six seasons with Atalanta and Milan, Kessie scored 45 goals.

Barcelona called Kessie “the complete package” and a “strong midfielder with tactical awareness.”

He will join a midfield that includes Sergio Busquets, Nico González and Frenkie de Jong.

Arsenal gets Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal signed Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus on a long-term contract on Monday. The Brazil international makes the move in a reported £45 million ($54 million) deal. He scored 95 goals in 236 games over nearly six seasons at City and won the Premier League four times, League Cup three times and the FA Cup.

Jesus, 25, reunites with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at City before taking over the Gunners.

“We spoke a couple of times about the club, the players, the project and the future,” he told arsenal.com. “I believe 100 percent in Mikel. I had a very good time with him before, he’s a very good guy and a very good coach as well.

“He helped me a lot. We would always stick together after the training sessions and do some finishing or something”.

Arsenal needed reinforcement up front after the departure of Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract expired, and Arteta knew the man he wanted to come in.

“I’m very excited. The club has done a tremendous job to recruit a player of this stature,” he said. “I know Gabriel personally very well, and we all know him well from his time in the Premier League and being really successful here.

“This is a position that’s been on our radar for a long time now and we have managed to get a player that we all wanted, so I’m really happy.”

Leeds hero Kalvin Phillips departs

Premier League champion Manchester City completed the expected signing of Kalvin Phillips, who left his hometown and boyhood club Leeds at age 26 to sign a six-year contract.

The value of the transfer was not disclosed though was reported to be 45 million pounds ($55 million).

In an emotional message to Leeds fans on social media, Philipps said it had been a privilege to play for ”this amazing club” and praised former manager Marcelo Bielsa as the best he had seen.





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