Arsenal transfers: Arteta to ‘prioritise’ re-signing of massive talent Wenger binned off for under £1m

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Ismael Bennacer Arsenal target Credit: Alamy
Ismael Bennacer Arsenal target Credit: Alamy

Arsenal are reportedly looking to bring one of their former stars back to North London this summer with the club keen to correct one of Arsene Wenger’s rare transfer mistakes at Emirates Stadium.

Wenger presided over the Gunners between 1996 and 2018, a 22-year spell at the helm that brought Arsenal incredible success. And while he did get more right than wrong during his time in charge, the Frenchman was guilty of the odd transfer faux-pas.

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Indeed, with the likes of Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic slipping through the net, Wenger was also guilty of letting talented stars leave on the cheap too. And one player who certainly epitmomised that was Algerian midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

The now 25-year-old moved to Arsenal as a teenager from French side, AC Arles. He spent two years in north London, making his debut in a League Cup tie away to Sheffield Wednesday in the 2015/16 season.

However, that was to be his only senior performance for the Gunners. And when Wenger allowed him to leave for a fee of £900,000 to Empoli, it was seen at the time as pretty decent business.

But the move to Italian football was to be the making of the Algerian. And it was during his time there that he was to establish himself as an international with his country.

Better was to come though and in summer 2019, Bennacer sealed a €16m move to AC Milan. Indeed, he has since become a firm fixture in their side, making 142 appearances over four seasons and winning the Scudetto in 2022.

His deal at Milan is not due to expire until summer 2027, having agreed an extension earlier this year.

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Arteta looking to bring Bennacer back to Arsenal

That would appear to cement his future to the San Siro, though with finances tight, a big sale is never out the question for the Rossonerri.

Now, according to Algerian paper Competition, there is a growing chance that Bennacer could depart this summer.

The club are preparing a staggering major new pay-hike to keep Rafael Leao on board. But his extension means a departure elsewhere in the squad will likely come under consideration.

And they claim interest in the Premier League for Bennacer could see the Algerian moving on.

To that end, they report that Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all also have early interest in signing the star. However, the chase is reportedly being led by Arsenal with Mikel Arteta keen to strengthen his midfield.

Indeed, per reports on Thursday morning, Arteta is in the market for two new central midfielders this summer. And of his list of targets, Declan Rice appears the most likely to sign.

However, Arteta also wants one more with Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo of Brighton also targeted.

In the case of Caicedo, the Gunners would need to fork out in excess of £70m.

But Bennacer could be seen as a cheaper alternative with Milan reportedly valuing the defensive midfielder in the £40m bracket.

He would comfortably fit in at Arsenal were Arteta to pounce. And given his mature performances in the Champions League this season, it is easy to see why the Gunners boss is keen to bring him back.

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