The patience of some if not most AC Milan fans regarding Franck Kessie seems to have worn out, and the signs are there that the tide is beginning to shift in a volatile way.
Kessie’s contract is due to expire at the end of the current season and despite pledging to extend it over the summer while at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, it seems as though the Ivorian has never actually been close to renewing and is now destined to leave the club after joining in 2017.
Fans are frustrated with the fact he hasn’t kept his word and by the notion that his performances might be suffering as a result of being distracted by off-field matters, given he hasn’t hit the same heights or been anywhere near as consistent this season.
On Sunday during the win over Sampdoria, Kessie’s name was jeered when the PA announcer read it out, and he was again whistled as he came on in the second half while a banner was also displayed which seemed to be aimed at him.
Journalist Alberto Cerruti has written a column for Calciomercato.com on why booing him is a bad idea, starting with the first reason being that supporters of any team ‘should always back their players from the beginning to the end of each match, because otherwise there would be no advantage in playing at home’.
Secondly, whistling a player ‘puts him and the team in difficulty, with a self-injurious attitude’ and the end result could be that ‘Kessie himself could ask not to play other matches at San Siro’ or ‘Pioli could give up on deploying him’. In both cases, Milan would have one less player to use.
The third reason is related to the concept of gratitude, as Cerruti writes how ‘it should not be forgotten that the midfielder has always given everything and thanks to his brace in the last match of the last season he allowed Milan to return to the Champions League after seven years’. Obviously to keep applauding him for that would be a different issue, but refraining from booing would at least acknowledge a contribution.
Finally, the journalist writes that whistling him ends even a 1% chance that he might renew his contract, presuming he hasn’t signed anything already with another club. “Treating him like the other players and perhaps encouraging him even more to make him feel the affection of the fans, could instead be a way to make him think,” he writes.