Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will make an approach for AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer – and reportedly has a growing belief a deal for the Algerian can be quickly agreed.
The new Red Devils chief has had to adopt a patient approach when it comes to re-shaping his newly-inherited squad. With Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard all leaving as free agents, and several more still likely to depart, Ten Hag has several space to fill.
But getting new signings over the line has not been an easy business. However, they are closing in on signing No 3 with a deal for Lisandro Martinez now agreed. He follows Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen as United new boys.
However, there are other exciting arrivals in the works. To that end, Monday’s Transfer Gossip claims signings four and five are set to follow shortly.
Ten Hag, though, may not be done there either, it seems. Now, as per Calciomercato, United are also readying a move to sign Milan’s Bennacer.
The defensive midfielder is still only 24 years of age, having clocked up over 100 appearances for Milan. Having started his career at Arsenal, he has regularly been linked with moves back to Emirates Stadium.
Indeed, Bennacer is reportedly the subject of fresh interest from the Gunners, according to reports last week.
Now, though, after getting wind that Milan are willing to sell, United are now reportedly considering a rival approach for Bennacer.
The Serie A champions are reportedly setting a £38m (€45m) asking price for the 40-times capped midfielder.
That seems within Ten Hag’s price range, though the report claims he is willing to include Donny van de Beek to reduce the outlay.
Ismael Bennacer can do a job for United
Whether the inclusion of Van de Beek will tempt Milan into a deal remains to be seen. And despite the belief of Calciomercato, it may be that Milan would prefer a straight cash sale.
Given Van de Beek’s struggles at Old Trafford, that would hardly come as a surprise.
That said, United clearly do need new recruits in midfield. After losing four options there this summer, they only have one new arrival there to date in Eriksen.
Clearly there is work to be done in that department. And Bennacer would likely offer Manchester United an upgrade on both Fred and Scott McTominay in the defensive midfield role. Indeed, former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer long suggested he was seeking a player who could do both their jobs; now maybe Bennacer can be that player.
Indeed, should Ten Hag get Bennacer and De Jong, he could set United up in a 4-3-3 formation – much similar to Liverpool.
With Bennacer as the No 6, De Jong and Eriksen can pull the midfield strings.
It may sound like a dream at this stage, but Ten Hag will have a firm idea of how he wants United to set up. And the capture of Bennacer may be the next step in achieving that wish.