Arsenal are reportedly ready to splash the cash and bolster Mikel Arteta’s midfield options in January to boost their Premier League title bid. The Gunners are eyeing a swoop for Hale End Academy graduate Ismael Bennacer to add quality to the ranks ahead of a five-month showdown with Manchester City.
Bennacer joined Arsenal’s youth set-up from French club Arles in July 2015, making his debut and only appearance in a 3-0 League Cup loss at Sheffield Wednesday in October of that year. He left permanently for Empoli in 2017 before completing a £14million switch to AC Milan two years later.
Since then, the Algerian midfielder has flourished at the San Siro and helped the Rossoneri to the Serie A title last season. But he is now being linked to a high-profile return to the Emirates Stadium to support his former club in another hotly-contested title race.
According to Corriere dello Sport, Arsenal are preparing to trigger Bennacer’s £44m release clause this winter. With multiple clubs attracted to the highly-rated 25-year-old, the Gunners want to fend off the competition and move early to bring him back to north London.
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Bennacer would provide Mikel Arteta with added quality and depth as Arsenal look to maintain their formidable Premier League form after the World Cup break. He’s left-footed, tenacious and energetic, and his versatility will be a major selling point, being able to slot in as a deep-lying midfielder or in a more attacking role.
Arteta already has a strong midfield regiment at his disposal, boasting Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga as options beneath first-choice double pivot Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. Martin Odegaard and Fabio Viera also share attacking-midfield duty, leaving the Gunners in good stead to compete on all fronts.
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