The Algerian was once an exciting young Arsenal player, but Arsene Wenger allowed him to leave the club for a very small fee. Now, he’s reportedly a target for the Gunners’ Premier League rivals Liverpool and Chelsea.
Ismael Bennacer joined Arsenal from French side AC Arlésien all the way back in 2015. He was just 17 at the time, but everybody could see his talent and potential then.
However, just two years later, he was sold.
Arsenal sold Ismael Bennacer for just £900,000
During his time at Arsenal, Bennacer made 32 appearances for the youth sides, scored two goals and provided two assists.
He impressed everyone at the club back then, including academy boss Andries Jonker, who hailed his passing range and shooting after a Man of the Match display against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Youth League.
Wenger, who was never afraid to give opportunities to young players, was really impressed with Bennacer too. The legendary Frenchman gave the midfielder his senior debut against Sheffield Wednesday in the EFL Cup seven years ago.
In January 2017, after Bennacer’s Algeria were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations, Wenger hailed his quality. He branded him as a ‘fighter’ and a ‘very efficient player’, but those praises quickly meant nothing.
Just seven days after Wenger’s comments, Bennacer was loaned out to Tours. Seven months after that, he was sold to Italian side Empoli for a fee of just £900,000. (Mirror)
Over the last five years, Bennacer has definitely proved that Arsenal made a mistake letting him go.
Liverpool and Chelsea want to sign Bennacer
Bennacer plays for AC Milan now and is one of their most important players. He has been fantastic in the Serie A over the last few years, and he’s now a wanted man.
Reports revealed this week that Liverpool want to sign the Algerian, who has entered the final two years of his contract. It has been claimed that Jurgen Klopp is ready to offer him a salary of £3.5 million a year, which is £2 million more than what Milan are offering him to stay at the club.
To add to that, Graham Potter’s Chelsea are said to be interested too. CalcioMercatoWeb reveal that the new Blues boss is personally targeting the AC Milan star to strengthen his midfield. However, Milan are said to be looking for a fee between £35 million and £45 million to let him go.
It will be interesting to see what will happen with Bennacer in the next two windows. Arsenal may already be regretting letting him leave, but if he ends up at a direct rival like Liverpool or Chelsea and becomes a star there, they will surely be left kicking themselves.