I left Arsenal for just £1m but now I'm 'one of the best in the world' and Man City want me

football.london   13/02/2024 14:47

Ismael Bennacer has been tipped to join Manchester City, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. The 26-year-old midfielder first made a name for himself in the Arsenal academy during his teenage years before joining Empoli in Italy in search of first-team opportunities.

Just two years after joining the Serie A outfit for no more than £1million, Bennacer courted the interest of AC Milan. In 2019, the Rossoneri forked out £14.5million to sign the Algeria international, who has since established himself as 'one of the best midfielders in the world'.

During his time at the San Siro, the former Gunner has helped Milan win the club's first league title since in eleven years. While Bennacer's impressive performances have continued to catch the eye, he's been riddled with injuries which have often forced him out of action for extended periods.

Shortly after returning from a knee problem which sidelined him for a large chunk of the campaign, he suffered a muscle issue during the Africa Cup of Nations. Despite an increasingly worrying injury record, Islam Slimani has backed his fellow countryman to join City, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

"I have known him since 2017, and I can say that he deserves to be where he is," said the former Leicester City striker in an interview with Gianluca di Marzio. "When he was 17 or 18-years-old, it was already immediately noticeable that he had a lot of quality.

"And, without taking anything away from Milan which is a great club, I believe that he can aim even higher. He could play for teams like Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

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"Especially because he is still young. I maybe would have left (Milan) already. Where (should he go)? To the Premier League! The injury he suffered last spring held him back. Previously he was considered one of the best midfielders in the world, but I’m sure he’ll be back even stronger."

In December, Bennacer reflected on his time at Arsenal. Speaking to SportBible, the Hale End graduate said: "I went to Arsenal to develop and have a technical education.

"But I’m someone who wants to play - I wasn’t yet 19 but I was eager to play. Even at Arsenal, my goal wasn’t to play in the reserve team but the first team. I wasn’t given that opportunity but it was a positive experience that helped me in my career."

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