Juventus have stepped up their interest in 19-year-old Franck Kessie, having offered close to €25 million for the midfielder, though Atalanta want more, Goal understands.
The Ivory Coast international has attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea throughout his brief spell in senior football.
Kessie spent last season on loan at Cesena in Serie B, quickly becoming a key player as they finished sixth in the second tier, earning a spot in the promotion playoffs.
He has wasted no time in cementing his place as a key player this season in Atalanta’s first team, starting the league campaign with four goals in the first three weeks.
After seeing star midfielder Paul Pogba depart for Manchester United in the summer, Juve have lacked presence in midfield, especially with Claudio Marchisio being limited to just three league appearances so far.
While Kessie’s agent has already acknowledged interest from Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly considering a move, Juve are taking the first steps in their pursuit of him.
The Bianconeri have suffered severe injuries to several players this term and coach Massimiliano Allegri wants to ensure his midfield has plenty of backup as his side look to secure a fifth consecutive league title and compete in the Champions League.
While Kessie is their main target, Atalanta have set the asking price at €30m and that price tag has not yet discouraged the reigning champions.
The two sides have opened discussions and Juve’s current offer stands just short of their evaluation, but with a few weeks to go before the January transfer window opens, they still have time to sort out a deal.
Juventus and Atalanta have historically good relations and a series of bonuses and incentives could tip the balance in making a deal happen.
A transfer is entirely possible for Juve and Kessie, but if negotiations do collapse, Allegri’s men could turn back to Axel Witsel as the solution to their problem.