Dusan Vlahovic only joined Juventus from Fiorentina last January on a four-year deal, but he could be on the move already.

That is part of the immediate fallout from the Serie A giants' 15-point deduction for alleged financial irregularities and false accounting.

Juventus will appeal the court decision but it does leave them in a major battle to remain in European contention, slipping to 10th already, and reports suggest they will have a tough task on their hands to keep hold of some of their key players.

 

TOP STORY – VLAHOVIC OFFERED TO MAN UTD

Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic has been offered to Manchester United according to 90min, amid the fallout from the Bianconeri's 15-point deduction.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have also been alerted to his availability.

Playing Champions League football is key for the Serbian striker, who has 16 goals in 36 games for Juventus, and the club understands the player's position and could sell in January or at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

Jude Bellingham is set to turn down a new Borussia Dortmund contract offer, with Manchester City confident they are in the box seat to land him, reports the Star. Liverpool and Real Madrid are also interested in the England midfielder.

Arsenal have commenced discussions with Ivan Fresneda as they look to sign the Real Valladolid right-back, according to Fabrizio Romano.

– Sport reports that Chelsea are willing to exchange Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie.

Roma are set to move for Udinese forward Gerard Deulofeu should they sell Nicolo Zaniolo, claims Calciomercato.

– The Athletic reports Manchester City are discussing a contract extension with Ilkay Gundogan amid interest from Barcelona.

– The Daily Mail claims that Frank Lampard is on the verge of being sacked as Everton manager following Saturday's 2-0 loss to West Ham.

Jose Mourinho is a man in demand at international level, with Brazil reportedly rivalling Portugal in pursuit of his signature.

The 59-year-old is currently employed by Serie A club Roma, having joined in 2021 on a three-year contract.

There are reports that Mourinho is not entirely happy in the Italian capital, specifically regarding player attitudes and the club's financial limitations.

TOP STORY – BRAZIL TO MAKE SHOCK MOVE FOR MOURINHO

Brazil will make a sensational swoop to make Jose Mourinho their new national team boss to replace the departed Tite, according to la Repubblica.

An intermediary of Brazil's national setup will fly into Italy to meet up with the Roma head coach – who has also been linked to the Portugal job – and begin negotiations face to face.

Brazil had been linked with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, having reportedly turned to super agent Jorge Mendes to aid their pursuit of a new head coach.

 

ROUND-UP

– Journalist Bruno Andrade claims Manchester United have "overtaken" Liverpool in the race to sign World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez from Benfica. United boss Erik ten Hag is willing the trigger his €120m release clause.

Manchester United have commenced talks with PSV winger Cody Gakpo, reports The Daily Mirror. Gakpo netted three goals in three World Cup group games.

– Fabrizio Romano claims that Barcelona have no intention of selling midfielder Franck Kessie or full-back Hector Bellerin in January.

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio, reports SPORT. Arsenal have also been linked with the 26-year-old, while Ara claims Barcelona are monitoring the situation and may swoop.

PSG are also interested in signing Manchester United's Brazilian midfielder Fred, claims The Sun. That is despite United recently triggering a 12-month extension on Fred's contract.

Bayern Munich have added Leeds United's French goalkeeper Ilhan Meslier to their transfer targets, reports MediaFootMercato. Bayern are looking for cover the injured keeper Manuel Neuer.

The race to sign Palmeiras teenager Endrick is on.

Endrick turns 18 in July 2024, and he cannot officially join a European club until then, but teams are jostling for position in the meantime.

The 16-year-old has scored three goals in seven appearances for Palmeiras in the 2022 Serie A season.

 

TOP STORY - LOS BLANCOS HOME IN ON BRAZILIAN TEENAGER ENDRICK

Real Madrid are closing in on a deal worth €70million for Palmeiras teenager Endrick with personal terms agreed, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Madrid are in the final stages with the talented left-footed Brazilian striker with contracts discussed and they hope to complete the deal this month.

Romano claims that Paris Saint-Germain have withdrawn from the race despite a €58m offer a few days ago. Chelsea were previously interested too. 

ROUND-UP

Paris Saint-Germain were tracking Portugal's last-16 hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos in the off-season, claims Fabrizio Romano. The 21-year-old forward is contracted with Benfica until 2025, with his price likely to surge after his latest World Cup display.

Manchester United have pulled out of the race to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, claims Sky Sports Germany. Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid all remain interested but the England international may cost around £130m (€150m).

– Bild claims Manchester United have commenced talks with Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who is out of contract at the end of this season, but Fichajes reports they have identified Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak as their main target.

Tottenham are looming as a possible option for Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie with Barcelona eager to sell him, according to Sport. Kessie joined the Blaugrana in July but has only made five starts this season.

– Nicolo Schira reports that Hansi Flick's future as Germany's head coach is in doubt following their World Cup group-stage exit. The German Football Association could move in a different direction amid links with ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

A fully fit Sergi Roberto was among a small group of Barcelona players who returned to training on Monday.

The versatile 30-year-old has not played since dislocating his left shoulder after scoring in Barca's 4-0 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao in October.

Sergio Roberto was cleared to train at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper over three weeks before the Blaugrana are back in action against Espanyol on December 31.

Defender Ronald Araujo also reported for training to continue his recovery from a groin injury that prevented him from playing for Uruguay in the World Cup.

Franck Kessie was also out on the pitch as he works his way back a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Kessie has been linked with Inter, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Fulham just five months after joining the Catalan giants from Milan on a free transfer.

Hector Bellerin, Marcos Alonso and Inaki Pena trained following a fortnight off while many of their team-mates were at the World Cup.

Head coach Xavi will welcome back more players who are no longer playing in the tournament in Qatar later this week.

Sofyan Amrabat has been at the centre of Morocco's surprise success at the World Cup, and his performances have put the Fiorentina midfielder on the radar of several Premier League clubs.

Amrabat, 26, had his first taste of Serie A football when he was loaned from Club Brugge to Hellas Verona for the 2019-20 season, catching the eye of Fiorentina, who scooped him up the following year.

The defensive midfielder has steadily increased his role at Fiorentina, making 10 starts and three substitute appearances in the league this season.

He played every minute of Morocco's three group games, guiding his side to an undefeated record (W2 D1) with clean sheets against both Belgium and Croatia, and now he is reportedly wanted by the English elite.

 

TOP STORY – AMRABAT EMERGES AS LIVERPOOL AND TOTTENHAM TARGET

According to Sky Sports Germany, Liverpool believe Amrabat can address their midfield depth issues, and could be available for €30million in January.

An earlier report from La Repubblica claimed Tottenham had enquired about a potential deal last January, and his terrific tournament has only strengthened their interest. 

With a blockbuster last-16 clash booked against Spain on Tuesday, another standout performance could have Amrabat packing his bags for an impending move to England.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting 23-year-old Barcelona target Martin Zubimendi is also on Manchester United's radar, although the Spaniard's contract ties him to Real Sociedad until 2027.

– Calciomercato is also reporting Cristiano Ronaldo is "very interested" in joining Chelsea if the Stamford Bridge side will have him.

– According to Fichajes, Inter would like to bring Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie back to Serie A, but cannot afford to purchase him outright in January, while the Spanish side are not willing to let him leave on a loan deal.

– 90min is reporting Real Madrid would need Kylian Mbappe to agree to certain conditions – including a pay cut and significantly less behind-the-scenes influence – if he wants to come to the club in the near future.

– Newcastle United are not planning any moves in January, and are open to parting ways with 28-year-old winger Ryan Fraser, according to the Telegraph.

Barcelona are expected to be major players in the January transfer market after a busy pre-season.

The 26-time Spanish champions are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break but crashed out of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana are still battling financial challenges, while they also have some unsettled players on their books.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOTTING JANUARY GUNDOGAN MOVE

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are planning to move for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January, with fears Franck Kessie may exit soon.

The Blaugrana are eager to bolster their midfield options and a move for Bernardo Silva appears difficult despite their ongoing interest.

As a result, Barca have turned to the Germany international, whose contract with City ends in mid-2023. The report also claims the Catalans could move for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Kessie has been linked with Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Fulham by Spanish media outlet Sport. The Ivorian only joined in July, but the club's financial position means they are open to letting players go.

ROUND-UP

– Despite being linked with a long list of names, Sport claims Barcelona will only make one signing in the January transfer window, with a right-back seen as a priority. Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and Villarreal's Juan Foyth are among their options.

– New Aston Villa heard coach Unai Emery wants to bring in Real Madrid's Eden Hazard and Nacho Fernandez, according to El Nacional. Spanish boss Emery left Villarreal for the Villans last month.

Juventus are ready to offer a new contract to French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, claims Tuttosport. Rabiot had been linked with an off-season move, with Manchester United mentioned as a possible destination, but has impressed this term.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are putting together a bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January. The Moroccan winger is expected to cost less than €20million (£17.5m).

Inter are keen on Valencia left-back Jesus Vazquez in January and a mid-2023 move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, reports La Gazetta dello Sport.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes has only played 27 games for the club since arriving from Lyon, and he has been so impressive that he is now a target of Barcelona.

Guimaraes, 24, spent three seasons with Lyon before Newcastle secured his services in a £40million move in January.

He scored five goals in just 11 starts this past Premier League campaign, and has added two goals and two assists this season, with Newcastle unbeaten in the 10 games he has started.

The Brazil international with eight senior caps to his name is a key part of why Newcastle currently occupy fourth place in the Premier League table, but they will now reportedly have to fend off interest from Barca.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA INVESTIGATE A MOVE FOR GUIMARAES

According to The Sun, Barcelona have officially moved on from their chase of Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and are instead focusing their attention on Newcastle's Guimaraes.

The report claims Barcelona were "priced out" of a move for Silva after City slapped a price tag of £80m on him and Guimaraes would certainly not come cheap.

With his contract tying him to Newcastle until 2026, it would need a huge offer to land the 24-year-old. 

While their spending spree will eventually need to be balanced out with some sales, the Magpies are said to be offering Guimaraes a new contract that will pay him £200,000 per week to put any questions about his future to bed.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting both Roma and Juventus are expected to pursue 23-year-old Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi, who is valued in the region of €30m.

– According to The Mirror, Sporting will attempt to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, and are preparing a second contract offer despite previously stating they can not afford the Portugal legend.

– Relevo claims N'Golo Kante is seen by Barcelona as a potential successor to Sergio Busquets, with the Chelsea midfielder's contract set to expire at the end of the season.

– It could be a busy January for Barcelona as Sport are reporting they hope to sell Memphis Depay, while Fichajes believe Franck Kessie will push for a move back to the Serie A.

– According to IG Esporte, Brighton and Everton are interested in 25-year-old Monaco left-back Caio Henrique.

Barcelona have lost another player to injury after announcing midfielder Frank Kessie pulled up in training on Wednesday.

The Ivory Coast international, who was a late substitute in Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League loss at Inter, strained an adductor muscle in his right thigh.

Barca said in a statement that the 25-year-old's injury will be monitored, but no timeframe has been put on his return to action.

He has played eight times for the Catalan giants since joining as a free agent from Milan in the close season, six of those coming as a substitute.

Kessie's injury came on the same day Barca confirmed Andreas Christensen suffered a ligament sprain during the highly contentious defeat to Inter.

They join Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Hector Bellerin, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay on the sidelines during a gruelling run of fixtures for Barca.

Xavi's side host Celta Vigo and Inter in LaLiga and the Champions League respectively over the next week, before taking on Real Madrid in a top-of-the-table Clasico on October 16.

Robert Lewandowski scored his first Barcelona hat-trick as the Blaugrana met expectations with a dominant 5-1 win over Viktoria Plzen to open their Champions League campaign.

Barca's three first-half goals were more than they managed over the whole group stage last season (two) when they were dumped into the Europa League, though sterner challenges await.

Plzen had moments against an unconvincing Barca defence, with Jan Sykora netting just before the break, but the hosts were already ahead thanks to Franck Kessie and Lewandowski, who made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time.

Although the tempo slowed slightly, Barca remained dominant after the break and Lewandowski ensured he became the first player to net a Champions League hat-trick with three different teams before Ferran Torres got in on the act.

Barca deservedly went in front early when Jules Kounde's header from a corner set up Kessie to nod in on his first start for the club.

Plzen looked set to level when Andreas Christensen clumsily tripped Jhon Mosquera in the box, but a foul on the Dane was spotted following a VAR review.

That reprieve was added to soon after as Lewandowski ruthlessly found the bottom-right corner from 20 yards.

Plzen at least appeared to be going into the break within touching distance thanks to Sykora converting from close range, but the excellent Ousmane Dembele teed up a stooping Lewandowski header to swiftly restore the two-goal lead.

Ansu Fati surprisingly sliced well wide in the first minute of a second half that was significantly less intense, but his wastefulness mattered little.

Lewandowski increased the deficit and cap his hat-trick with another sumptuous 20-yard finish after a neat interchange with Torres.

The Spain winger then rounded things off with a thumping strike from Dembele's cross.

What does it mean? Barca starting to right wrongs

Barcelona's Champions League campaign last season was dreadful – while they were paired with Bayern Munich in the group, they also finished below Benfica. Dynamo Kiev were the only team they beat.

Granted, their group this season is even tougher given Bayern and Inter are the other two teams Barca will face, but this was clearly a much greater showing than they produced against anyone in 2021-22. This was not a season-defining showing by any stretch, but the fact Barca made it look so straightforward at least shows progress.

Dembele ouses class

Lewandowski will obviously hog most headlines with his exceptional treble, but Dembele was still the best player on the pitch.

His five key passes – and two assists – were match highs, but he was just an absolute terror in general. A tremendous display.

Fati finding his feet

Xavi has been patient with Fati this season following his injury woes. This was his first start of the campaign and there was certainly some rustiness on show, as one might expect.

None of his four shots were on target, though Barca will be happy to see him come through the game unscathed, and he was lively in the first half.

What's next?

Barca go to Bayern next Tuesday as Lewandowski returns to the Allianz Arena, while Plzen will host Inter the same day.

Barcelona have activated a fourth economic lever in a bid to ensure their new signings can be registered for LaLiga, announcing the sale of a further 24.5 per cent of their production company for €100million.

The Catalan giants, who have signed the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie despite ongoing financial troubles, have reportedly failed to register their new acquisitions for the upcoming league campaign.

President Joan Laporta has been working to raise funds to allow Barca to meet LaLiga's salary limits ahead of the season, and said last week the club had made a "great effort" to do so. 

Last month, 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios was sold to the company Socios.com for €100million, while the Blaugrana have also sold 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to American investment firm Sixth Street, among other measures.

But with reports suggesting the club were still struggling to meet LaLiga's rules, they have announced a second deal for an equivalent stake in Barca Studios.

"FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios to the company Orpheus Media, managed by Mr Jaume Roures, an audiovisual production company with a long history of producing content, for 100 million euros," read a club statement.

"The agreement complements the one signed on 29 July with Socios.com and will help to accelerate the growth of the club's digital, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

"With this investment the strategic partners in Barca Studios show confidence in the value of the project and the future of digital content in the world of sport."

Reports suggest that while Barca are prioritising the registration of their new signings, they are still eyeing a move for Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, while Manchester City's Bernardo Silva has been touted as another target.

Barca begin their LaLiga campaign when they host Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, though it remains to be seen how many of their new stars can feature.

Barcelona have activated a fourth economic lever in a bid to ensure their new signings can be registered for LaLiga, announcing the sale of a further 24.5 per cent of their production company for €100million.

The Catalan giants, who have signed the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie despite ongoing financial troubles, have reportedly failed to register their new acquisitions for the upcoming league campaign.

President Joan Laporta has been working to raise funds to allow Barca to meet LaLiga's salary limits ahead of the season, and said last week the club had made a "great effort" to do so. 

Last month, 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios was sold to the company Socios.com for €100million, while the Blaugrana have also sold 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to American investment firm Sixth Street, among other measures.

But with reports suggesting the club were still struggling to meet LaLiga's rules, they have announced a second deal for an equivalent stake in Barca Studios.

"FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios to the company Orpheus Media, managed by Mr Jaume Roures, an audiovisual production company with a long history of producing content, for 100 million euros," read a club statement.

"The agreement complements the one signed on 29 July with Socios.com and will help to accelerate the growth of the club's digital, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

"With this investment the strategic partners in Barca Studios show confidence in the value of the project and the future of digital content in the world of sport."

Reports suggest that while Barca are prioritising the registration of their new signings, they are still eyeing a move for Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, while Manchester City's Bernardo Silva has been touted as another target.

Barca begin their LaLiga campaign when they host Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, though it remains to be seen how many of their new stars can feature.

Chelsea are ready to make a splash in the transfer market with a series of signings on the cards.

The Blues have been heavily linked with Leicester City's Wesley Fofana as they seek replacements for the departed Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in defence.

Chelsea are understood to be keen to bolster their forward options too, with Romelu Lukaku exiting for Inter.

TOP STORY – BLUES TO SWOOP FOR DE JONG AND AUBA

Chelsea are all set to sign Barcelona pair Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should the Catalans permit the duo to exit the club, reports Sky Sports.

Manchester United have been involved in a drawn-out saga for De Jong this off-season, with the Dutchman reluctant to leave but the Blues are ready to match their £72million (€85m) bid, plus offer Champions League football.

Aubameyang only joined Barcelona in January but has previously worked with Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.

ROUND-UP

– ESPN claims that Barcelona's off-season signings Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie could leave the Blaugrana for free if the club cannot register them due to LaLiga financial fair play rules in time for Saturday's league opener. Barca defender Gerard Pique has offered to play for free to help register the new players, according to AS.

– The Mail reports that Manchester City are set to finalise an £11m deal for 21-year-old Spanish left-back Sergio Gomez from Anderlecht on Thursday. Fabrizio Romano claims he may be loaned out to Girona.

– Rennes forward Arnaud Kalimuendo is on the cusp of joining Paris Saint-Germain for €25m, claims L'Equipe. Leeds United have shown an interest in the 20-year-old striker.

– Atalanta and Nottingham Forest have agreed terms for the transfer of Switzerland international midfielder Remo Freuler, reports Sky Sport Italia.

Barcelona have no intention of selling Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United, according to club president Joan Laporta, although he admitted the club's perilous financial situation could create the "need" for a sale.

Meanwhile, Laporta labelled Cristiano Ronaldo's apparent desire to leave United "interesting" but would not be drawn on whether the Blaugrana would target the Portuguese legend.

De Jong, who starred in Erik ten Hag's Ajax side before moving to Barcelona in 2019, has been touted as United's top transfer target since the Dutchman was announced as the club's new boss in April.

While the midfielder expressed his desire to stay at Barcelona in May, the club's need to reduce their wage bill has led to suggestions a sale could still be possible.

Laporta said last week he would do "what is in my power" to keep De Jong but acknowledged the Netherlands international would need to agree to a salary adjustment to remain at Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana president repeated that stance at Wednesday's unveiling of new signing Franck Kessie, saying of De Jong: "He's a Barca player and if we don't have the need, we won't sell him. We don't want to sell him. 

"We know he has offers, but right now we're not selling this player."

 

While Ten Hag appears to see De Jong as the ideal candidate to be the fulcrum of his new United side, it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will remain at Old Trafford after widespread reports of his desire to leave for a Champions League club emerged last week. 

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions for United last season, but the club ended the season in sixth place with their lowest-ever Premier League points tally (58).

But Laporta refused to be drawn on whether Barcelona could make a remarkable move for the 37-year-old, who starred in four Champions League triumphs with their historic rivals Real Madrid.

"I had dinner on Monday with [Ronaldo's agent] Jorge Mendes and we talked about the market in general," he added.

"Cristiano? I'm not going to talk about the players who came out of the meeting, but it's always interesting to know how some names are on the market.

"I'm not going to talk about players in one way or another, it could be misunderstood. It doesn't contribute anything to the interests of Barca. We have to respect the players who have contracts with other teams."

 

Meanwhile, Barcelona's need to adjust their finances in order to strengthen Xavi's squad has led to uncertainty over the future of winger Ousmane Dembele, whose contract with the club expired last month.

Dembele made more assists (13) in all competitions than any other Barca player last season, and while Laporta is keen to keep the 2018 World Cup winner, says the 25-year-old is yet to respond to the club's offer.

"We are in a situation of uncertainty. Right now, we still can't sign [him]," he said.

"We are talking to players we are interested in so they can wait for us. Ousmane is not a Barca player, but we have made him an offer.

"He has not accepted our proposal, but he wants to continue talking. We will continue talking, at least for now. 

"Salary balance is necessary for the team to be competitive. All discussions are framed in this context. We're not in a hurry, although we're aware that we can't delay. Let no one expect us not to act with the utmost prudence".

Franck Kessie sought the advice of Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of completing his move to Barcelona.

The Ivory Coast international has joined the LaLiga giants on a free transfer from Milan, having helped the Serie A side to the Scudetto last season.

Legendary Rossoneri striker Ibrahimovic has previously represented Barca among his plethora of clubs, helping the Blaugrana win the title in the 2009-10 season.

Kessie sought out the thoughts of the veteran Sweden striker when contemplating his own switch.

"He told me it was a good place," Kessi said. "He recommended that I work hard."

There will be a wait for both Kessie and fellow new arrival Andreas Christensen to feature, however, with Barca president Joan Laporta once again confirming the club are unable to register either player.

The Catalan club's financial struggles have been well-documented, and there will need to be a reduction in the wage bill within their squad to accommodate their new players.

Laporta is confident they will be able to do so without suffering serious losses to the makeup of their team, adding: "We have absolute respect for our players.

"With whom the coach does not have, we are working on a consensual agreement. The sports management is working very well.

"It is not easy, because the footballers we want have contracts similar to their current ones. Most have the hope and illusion of convincing the coach. Logic will prevail."

Franck Kessie revealed he is excited to get to work at Barcelona, after the Spanish club confirmed his signing earlier this week.

On Monday, the Blaugrana announced the signings of both Kessie and Andreas Christensen, with their contracts expiring at Milan and Chelsea respectively this off-season.

It has nevertheless been a busy period for Barcelona as they look to balance their books, with reports linking Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele to moves away in the event they do not lower their wages.

After helping the Rossoneri secure the Serie A title last season, Kessie insists he is looking forward to working under Xavi, despite uncertainty over where he will actually play in midfield.

"When Xavi calls you, you see that all your efforts have been worth it," he said upon arriving in Barcelona. "I can't wait to start working with him and my colleagues.

"It is a great opportunity. Barca is a great team, and I am very happy. I really want to start and give my best. I am a player who works hard on a day-to-day basis to end up winning things.

"Where I play, the coach will decide. He will know where I can best help the team."

The 25-year-old played in a variety of positions under Stefano Pioli in Milan, even spending parts of last season as an attacking midfielder.

He was a dependable figure last season as well, only missing three league games, with the exception of international duty during January's African Cup of Nations.

The Ivorian also revealed he hopes to emulate the feats of his compatriot and "idol" Yaya Toure, who won his lone Champions League with Barcelona in 2009.

"My idol is Yaya Toure," Kessie said. "He is a great player and an Ivorian, like me. I have been lucky enough to play with him and I want to have a career as good as his."

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