Chelsea are reportedly lining up a €40 million offer to secure the services of AC Milan and Algeria midfielder Ismael Bennacer ahead of Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Chelsea and Manchester United will battle it out for AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer in the January transfer window. According to Alfredo Pedulla, the 25-year-old has recently hired Enzo Raiola – the cousin brother of late super-agent Mino – as his new agent to facilitate his next move in a “sensational twist”. United and Chelsea have been in contact with him, with the latter even preparing a firm bid for the player in January.

Bennacer interestingly has previous experience with English football. He spent two years with Arsenal between 2015 and 2017 but never actually played a Premier League game for the club before being shipped to Italy.

The Algeria international has come leaps and bounds at Milan since his move from Empoli three years back. He has earned a lot of plaudits for his progression over the past couple of seasons as he played a vital role in AC Milan winning the Serie A title in 2021/22.

He has been a key player for Milan in the defensive midfield position, racking up over 126 appearances for Milan, as well as chipping in with four goals and eight assists along the way. His performances, coupled with his tricky contract situation, seem to have grabbed the attention of clubs in the Premier League.

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The Algerian midfielder is about to enter the final 18 months of his contract, and the Rossoneri have yet to convince him to sign an extension. Milan have expressed their desire to keep him on their books with a new long-term contract.

Reports have claimed the Serie A giants will struggle to tie him down to a new deal on his desired terms, with the player wanting at least €4 million plus bonuses per season. This has now opened the door for his suitors to approach him with better prospects, with Chelsea and Manchester United both keen to bring him back to the Premier League.

Chelsea, for one, are pressing the issue. The Blues are ready to launch a move to sign Bennacer and could test AC Milan’s resolve with an offer worth around €40 million.

Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are both nearing the final six months of their deals in January. And Chelsea may opt to part ways with the pair as part of a midfield revamp next summer as they look to add some fresh legs in the engine room. Bennacer’s expertise in Italian football might make him an excellent option for the holding midfield role.

On the other hand, Manchester United made a splash by signing Casemiro from Real Madrid over the summer. The Brazilian has established himself as the team’s regular holding midfielder and is unlikely to be replaced unless sidelined through injury or rested by the manager.

Even if Fred stays, Manchester United needs more depth and competition for places, with both Fred and Scott McTominay not being genuine number-six alternatives. Bennacer would be a fantastic addition if Erik ten Hag is looking to upgrade thanks to Algerian’s supreme passing skills, and press resistance. The Bennacer situation is certainly one to keep a close eye on in the upcoming January transfer window.

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