Arsenal are reportedly ‘above all’ clubs in the race to re-sign their former youth star Ismael Bennacer from AC Milan in the upcoming January transfer window.

According to TuttoMercatoWeb, Arsenal are looking into the prospect of re-signing AC Milan midfield star Ismael Bennacer and are in pole position to bring him back to the Emirates as manager Mikel Arteta seeks midfield reinforcements in the January transfer window.

The 25-year-old previously donned the Arsenal shirt as a teenager between 2015 and 2017, before eventually leaving the club for a fee of less than £1 million in August 2017 with only one League Cup appearance to his name in Arsenal colours. But he could find himself back at the Emirates in the New Year.

Since joining AC Milan from Empoli in 2019 for a fee of around £14 million, the holding midfielder has become one of the most irreplaceable members of Stefano Pioli’s Milan side.

He has gone on to make 126 appearances for the club across all competitions during his stay on the red side of Milan so far, including 31 in Serie A during the 2021-22 Scudetto triumph. As a result, the 40-cap Algerian international has seen his stock rise rapidly over recent years and is now regarded as one of the most complete No. 6s across Europe.

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The Algerian star is about to enter the final 18 months of his contract, and the Rossoneri have yet to persuade him to sign a new long-term deal.

The club wants to prolong his stay until 2027 by increasing his wages to €4 million per year, but the midfielder wants more lucrative wages in his next deal, with the Rossoneri pondering whether to match his demands or cash in on him in January to avoid decreasing their prized asset’s value.

The 25-year-old recently hired Enzo Raiola as his new agent and could be tempted to move elsewhere, with a number of Premier League sides, including Manchester United and Chelsea, in contact with his agent, with the latter even ready to put down an offer of €40 million to try and sign the AC Milan midfielder next month.

However, according to TMW journalist Niccolo Ceccarini, Arsenal are the front-runners to land him. Mikel Arteta is after a new midfielder this January, who can combine creativity with defensive prowess, with Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic both prominently linked to the club in recent times. Former Gunner Bennacer is now viewed as a potential option.

Bennacer would be a smart addition to the middle of the park for Arsenal. Given their lack of depth in the midfield department, the Gunners do not have the luxury of time to wait before strengthening in that area, with a Premier League title on the line.

The 25-year-old makes a high number of defensive actions per match whilst also picking off passes to carve open the opposition’s defence. He’s also press resistant and good at bringing the ball forward to start attacks thanks to his excellent dribbling and ability to get out of tight spaces.

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal make move to bring their former Academy star or look elsewhere in search of midfield reinforcement in January.

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