The Franck Kessie vs Sergio Busquets Debate: All You Need To Know

FC Barcelona looked totally out of their skin initially month of the transfer window. Barca was not able to sign any good players. All we heard were rumors of players being linked to Barcelona. Due to a tricky financial situation and strict La Liga rules it was difficult for the Catalan club to do any transfer business. Then by the start of July things changed Barcelona signed their 1st Leverage with Goldman Sacks and their sponsorship deal with music giant Spotify went through.

Finally, Big boy Barcelona was back and we saw a ton of singings incoming. One such signing was midfielder Kessie. Kessie has been very influential in Milan’s midfield and Barcelona had an eye on him for ages. 

The New Signing: Franck Kessie

Football Club Barcelona recently signed and registered Ivorian footballer Franck Yannick Kessiéfrom AC Milan. Ac Milan plays in the Italian top flight Serie A and recently won the league. Kessie signed on a four-year deal until June 2026 with a buyout clause of €500m. Taking about him set out on his football career at Stella Club d’Adjamé in his home country. In 2015 he joined Serie A club Atlanta on a 3-year deal. But he was soon loaned to Cesena (Serie B). Next season after returning from a loan he was promoted to Atlanta’s first team.  

Kessie is a powerful midfielder who is excellent defensively and can get forward and score goals. His big break came when he delivered good performances in the second division for Cesena. Which promoted Atlanta coach, Gian Piero Gasperini, to trust him with a midfield role in the first team.

After a good season with Atlanta. AC Milan reached an agreement with the Bergamo-based club to loan the African midfielder for two years deal with an obligation to buy. At San Siro, Kessié would become one of the best midfielders in Italy and a key cog in the Rossoneri engine room for five seasons.

Kessié ended up playing 223 games for AC Milan over five seasons. During that time he scored an impressive 37 goals (he became the regular penalty taker) and created 17 assists. His final season for AC Milan in 2021/22 saw him become one of their main men as they won their first Serie A title in eleven years to be crowned Italian champions. Kessié team was also a key man in the midfield for the Ivory Coast during the 2017 and 2019 African Cup of Nations, providing the highest number of assists in the latter.

The Burning Question: Dilemma

Now with the singing of Kessie, a big question has arisen, will he replace Sergio Busquets himself in that CDM role in Barcelona midfield? Before answering, this question let’s look at Sergio Busquets and his track record.

The Legend: Sergio Busquets

Now, Sergio Busquets, the genius, the mastermind, and the torch bearer of the Catalonian midfield, is a vastly experienced player who is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. His technical ability and his reading of the game through the halfway line in the field are unsurpassed. After the Xavi-Iniesta era. Busquets has held the pivot of the Catalonian midfield through his tactical reading and his fine passing to cut the play and initiate a new attack. Sergio Busquets established his peak game and fame while becoming the most talented central midfielder in Barcelona.

Who Should start in that CDM Role for Xavi Herandez Barcelona?

It isn’t unnoticed that Busquets is aging and hence, his game, and his speed has reduced. He has covered these faults with his intelligent gameplay, but in this fast-moving, fast-transforming modern football, speed and physicality are the ultimate need of the hour, and for Barcelona, it is imminent that they keep up with the vigorous way of playability, as their lack of intensity was pretty much highlighted in the previous two seasons, which cost them a lot of important matches!

Why Kessie?

Franck Kessié is young, he’s fast, he’s physical, and he can score goals. Kessie can help build plays from the box as well, with the center backs. He drops deep into the midfield while defending, using his physicality to match opponents. The play can run through Kessie easily and he can retain possession. He can at times be aggressive, especially at the time of ball retention. Barcelona themselves called Kessie “the complete package” and a “strong midfielder with tactical awareness.”

Why Sergio Busquets should still retain his spot in that CDM role?

Sergio Busquets has been the engine room for Barcelona over the years. Busquets can always be counted on to add extra presence, whether it’s on offense or defense, from the first minute to the last. A permanent wall between the Barcelona defense and midfield is represented by Busquets.

Johan Cruyff the Barcelona Legend himself once said, “Positionally, he seems like a veteran with or without the ball. With the ball he makes what is difficult look easy: he disposes of the ball with one or two touches. Without the ball, he gives us a lesson: that of being in the right place to intercept and running just to recover the ball.”

The World Cup-winning Manager of Spain, Vicente Del Bosque once said the following when asked about Sergio Busquets and his contribution to the game.

Image credits: AZ Quotes

Another reason for Busquets to still hold a place in the starting lineup is his excellent distribution of the ball. One of the hardest things to be a footballer is to be in right place at the right time but for Sergio Busquets, it’s just a piece of cake. Lastly, one major quality of Busquets is that he always keeps it very simple.

Again Barcelona Legend Joan Cryuff once said, “ Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is”

After hearing both sets of arguments it’s fair to say both are valid. Yet the question remains the same as above.

The Ideal Solution

Sergio Busquets can start games and can set the tempo and rhythm of the game. While Kessié can come in as a super-sub around the hour mark, which will bring fresh legs in the midfield and give rest to the former. Kessié can even start in some less important games to add to his game time and gain experience. While Busquets can play in important games as he can get a tactical advantage over opponents for FC Barcelona. This strategy will also be beneficial in long run for Blaugrana. Owing to this Kessie will get much-needed experience and time to settle into the Catalan way of doing things. Slowly and steady he can be sought as a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets, who is rumored to leave next season.


As of now, it will be difficult to assume how will Xavi design the midfield pivot. Surely it would be interesting to see how Kessie vs Busquets Dilemma unfolds.  

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Chaitya Shah

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