Chelsea, Man Utd ‘contact agent’ of Serie A-winning midfielder who failed at Arsenal

Jason Soutar
Reported Chelsea target Ismael Bennacer tracks Raheem Sterling

Chelsea and Manchester United have reportedly contacted the agent of AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer over a potential move to the Premier League.

Bennacer spent two years at Arsenal before joining Empoli for less than £1million in 2017.

After an impressive two years in Italy, Milan swooped in and signed the French-born midfielder for a reported €17.20m.

Currently valued at €40m by Transfermarkt, Bennacer is out of contract in 2024 and his current club are trying to tie him down to a new long-term deal.

However, they are facing some competition for his signature.

Arsenal have been linked with their former players, while Premier League rivals Chelsea and United are also believed to be keen.

Calciomercato recently reported the Gunners interest, claiming they are looking to re-sign Bennacer for €20m plus midfielder Thomas Partey.

That story should be taken with a pinch of salt given the fact it believes Arsenal would swap Partey for Bennacer, and that Milan would apparently say no to that offer.

And with that said, it is with great regret that I say Calciomercato have once again had a say on the Algeria international’s future.

Bennacer has recently joined forces with a new agent, Enzo Raiola, the late Mino’s cousin.

And United and Chelsea have both made contact with the lesser-known Raiola, the report states.

The Red Devils could do with another midfielder despite their summer signing of Casemiro.

They had chased Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong for the whole summer window before quickly securing the services of the experienced Brazilian.

However, the report from the Italian outlet claims Chelsea are ‘above’ United in the race to sign Bennacer, and are also interested in signing his Milan teammate Rafael Leao.

With Jorginho and N’Golo Kante out of contract at the end of the season, Graham Potter will need to sign a new midfielder in 2023.

The Blues have been strongly linked with West Ham’s Declan Rice for a few years now, and recent reports suggest he will be on the move next summer.

While Potter is looking to sign a new midfielder or two, Leao remains a top target after the Blues had hoped to sign him under Thomas Tuchel.

Like with Bennacer, Milan are hoping to agree a new contract with the Portuguese forward.

Despite his current deal expiring in less than two years, the Rossoneri are reportedly looking for £100m to let Leao leave.

During a Twitter Q&A this week, Blues wing-back Reece James said Leao is in the top three wingers he has ever faced alongside Sadio Mane and Vinicius Jr.

And potentially adding fuel to the fire, the Milan winger responded to his “bro” James.

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