Arsenal chiefs remain puzzled about how the club allowed Ismael Bennacer to leave and then chose not to try to re-sign him, according to a report.
The defensive midfielder has become crucial for AC Milan since his move from Empoli in the summer of 2019. Indeed, he made 35 appearances in all competitions last season, including 31 in Serie A.
However, his recent rise has come after his spell with Arsenal failed to spark into life. The Algeria international left Arsenal for Empoli in the summer of 2017 after two years with the north London club.
Former boss Arsene Wenger negotiated a clause in that deal which allowed Arsenal to match other clubs’ future bids for Bennacer. But his successor Unai Emery chose not to activate it and instead sanctioned his sale to Milan.
Calciomercato, though, notes that Emery in fact ‘ignored’ the buy-back clause. That decision came despite Bennacer’s solid form for Empoli, which raised his profile significantly.
In his two seasons with the Serie B side, the midfielder posted 76 league appearances, chipping in with two goals and six assists.
As such, the source adds that certain Arsenal figures ‘do not understand’ the club’s treatment of the player.
However, it is not only Emery who is under the spotlight. Wenger‘s move to sell Bennacer in the first place has reportedly baffled the top brass at The Emirates.
The 23-year-old moved to Arsenal’s Under-23 ranks from AC Arles in the summer of 2015. He then made his first-team debut in October that year in a League Cup match.
Indeed, Bennacer recently spoke about how he struggled to settle in north London soon after his move. What’s more, he felt that Wenger only gave him a chance due to key first-team injuries in the match.
That would turn out to be his only appearance for the Gunners’ senior side. He stayed with the club’s Under-23 ranks until January 2017 when he sealed a loan move to French side Tours.
From there, he arrived back at Arsenal but learned that he would not earn his stripes under Wenger.
Report reveals Partey injury worries
Skip forward over three years and Mikel Arteta is at the Arsenal helm in his first full season.
October signing Thomas Partey has impressed since his arrival but has not featured since he picked up a thigh injury in early November.
And despite Arsenal being hopeful of a swift return, a report claims that his issue is worse than first feared.