Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Algerian midfielder Ismael Bennacer from Serie A club AC Milan as a long-term midfield option.

According to Fichajes, Ismael Bennacer is one of Arsenal’s long-term midfield targets, and Mikel Arteta could plot a move to sign him at the next given opportunity. The 24-year-old Algerian midfielder has emerged as a target as the Gunners look to reinforce their midfield options.

Arsenal are stepping up their search for reinforcements in the transfer market with several key positions needing new additions. Mikel Arteta undertook a massive rebuild job in the summer, signing several players under the age of 23. While this may not be the norm, the Gunners could continue hiring young players than experienced ones, with Youri Tielemans their latest target.

While the search for a striker is already underway – Arsenal are chasing Dusan Vlahovic among other players – the Gunners are also looking for a long-term midfield solution. Arsenal did sign Albert Sambi Lokonga in the summer, but the Belgian is still in his developmental stage.

The underlying issue could be the future of Granit Xhaka, who, despite forming an important partnership with Thomas Partey in the middle, could still be replaced. Last summer, the Swiss international was on the verge of joining AS Roma, only for Arsenal to block a move and renew his terms at the Emirates.

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However, he is not considered the long-term option Arteta needs, and Arsenal might add a player to either replace him or complement the Swiss midfielder. To that end, AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer is the latest target for the Gunners in the wake of the Algerian midfielder’s impressive performances for the Rossoneri this term.

He has been an important figure for Milan this term, making 18 appearances thus far and helping them keep up the pressure on local rivals Inter Milan in the Serie A title chase. The Algerian was once in Arsenal’s youth setup but never made a senior appearance for the club before moving to Italy and joining Empoli.

Bennacer’s role as a defensive midfielder is considered crucial and explains why Arsenal are chasing the 24-year-old. The Gunners have lacked solidity in the middle of the park as both Partey and Xhaka have shown shortcomings in covering the area adequately.

The Algerian international could be safely considered a summer target than a January addition, as he is participating at the Africa Cup of Nations. His Milan contract runs until 2024, meaning Arsenal would have to make a reasonable financial offer to convince the Serie A club to sell him.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are also on interested in Juventus’s Arthur Melo as Arteta eyes a loan signing to offset the current shortage of midfielders in the squad. Arsenal will take on Tottenham in the North London Derby at the weekend with a depleted team with Partey and Elneny away at the AFCON and Xhaka suspended.

Arsenal  have also let Ainsley Maitland-Niles join AS Roma on loan, leaving Lokonga as the only senior midfielder in the squad for the weekend. So, bolstering midfield is imperative for Arsenal, and it will be interesting to see if a midfielder from Serie A arrives this month.

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