According to reports, Arsenal and Manchester City are both interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer this summer.
The centre-midfielder was previously with Arsenal between 2015 and 2017. He did not make a single senior appearance for the Premier League club before leaving to join Italian outfit Empoli.
The 25-year-old’s performances earned him a €16m move to AC Milan in 2019 and he has played 143 times for the Serie A giants over the past four seasons.
Bennacer has shone for AC Milan as they won the Serie A title last season and he has helped them reach the semi-final stage of the Champions League this term.
Arsenal will sign at least one midfielder this summer. Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have been among the club’s best players this term but they need more options in that area of the pitch.
The Gunners attempted to sign Moises Caicedo in January but with Brighton holding out for around £80m, they ended up recruiting Jorginho from Chelsea as a cheaper alternative.
The Premier League title challengers are now being heavily linked with Declan Rice, who is expected to secure himself a move away from West Ham this summer.
But Football Transfers are reporting that Arsenal are ‘set to battle it’ with Man City for Bennacer. The report adds.
‘Sources have told us that Arteta is seriously looking at the possibility of bringing the former Gunner back to the club in case the Gunners fail to capture primary summer target Moises Caicedo of Brighton or Declan Rice of West Ham. FootballTransfers understands that Caicedo is the priority.
‘Those close to Man City have indicated to us that Pep Guardiola is also a big admirer of Bennacer and has in the past contacted the player directly about a move to the Etihad Stadium.
‘Bennacer recently signed a new deal with the Rossoneri, which includes a release clause that Arsenal or Man City will have to trigger. This is believed to be in the region of €50m and is active until 2024 for a player with an Expected Transfer Value (xTV) of €45m.’
Speaking last month, Caicedo explained why he wanted to join Arsenal during the January transfer window.
“I’d seen a lot of Arsenal before knowing that there was a possibility of me signing for them,” Caicedo told The Daily Telegraph when asked why he wanted to join the Gunners.
“I watched them and I liked them because they have very young, talented players and some stars but they always have that mindset of wanting more.”