Manchester United are reportedly plotting a summer swoop for former Arsenal midfielder Ismael Bennacer, who has shone for AC Milan this season.
According to a report from Algerian outlet Competition, as relayed by The Sun, Manchester United have entered the race for the signing of AC Milan midfield star Ismael Bennacer.
22-year-old Bennacer came through the youth ranks of hometown club AC Arles in France, before moving to Arsenal in 2015. He spent two years with the Gunners, but wasn’t able to make the grade to the first-team. And after just a solitary senior appearance and a loan stint at Tours FC, he joined Italian outfit Empoli in 2017.
Bennacer enjoyed an excellent debut campaign in Italy, helping Empoli to promotion to Serie A and continued in the same vein of form in his first season in the Italian top-flight. Arsenal had the chance to re-sign him last summer, which they rejected and the Algerian international ended up joining AC Milan in a £14 million move.
Since signing for the Rossoneri, the 22-year-old has grown into a key member of the team, especially under Stefano Pioli. Bennacer has been pretty much a constant presence in the midfield double pivot for Milan alongside Franck Kessie. Till date, he has featured 28 times in all competitions, assisting a solitary goal.
Ismaël Bennacer vs Lazio
84% pass accuracy
1 dribble won
1 tackle won
1 aerial won
Heart, lungs and brain of AC Milan's midfield. ?⚫️ pic.twitter.com/4mjxrXsRr8
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) July 4, 2020
Bennacer was also the standout player in Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph last year and was named the player of the tournament for his exploits. The 22-year-old’s growth since leaving Arsenal have alerted a number of clubs across Europe, with Manchester City and Real Madrid taking an interest in him.
And as per latest reports, Manchester United, too, have joined the hunt for the Algerian international. The Red Devils have been in unstoppable form in recent weeks, having not lost in 16 matches across all competitions. The midfield unit, comprising of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic has been crucial in this run.
Matic, especially, has seemingly found a second wind in his career, putting in brilliant performances one after the other in the defensive midfield role. However, at 31, the Serbian doesn’t have a lot of years left in him at the topmost level. So, it would bode well for Manchester United to put in place a long-term succession plan in place for him, with Bennacer being a viable option.
However, apart from Manchester City and Real Madrid, Manchester United will also have to contend with competition from PSG, who have already had a £35 million bid rejected by Milan. The report further claims that an offer of around £45 million could force the Rossoneri to consider offloading their star midfielder.
It remains to be seen if the Red Devils’ supposed interest in the Algerian international turns into a formal approach in the coming weeks.