Milan sign Bennacer from Empoli

After bringing in Rade Krunic earlier in the summer, Milan have acquired another midfielder from Empoli: Ismael Bennacer, who was bought for €16M and inked a five-year contract. The 21-year-old Algerian international is coming off his breakout season, where he piled up 37 appearances and provided three assists. He was just recently named the best player in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, where he was very instrumental in the Desert Warriors’ win.

A product of Arsenal’s youth academy, Bennacer has moved to Italy in the summer of 2017, immediately becoming a starter for the Azzurri. While he always stood out for his technique and vision, he truly flourished after the hiring of Giuseppe Iachini in November, when his role changed from box-to-box to deep-lying midfielder, forming a very intriguing line next to Hamed Traorè and Krunic. He scored three times and amassed seven helpers in two seasons in Tuscany.

Bennacer showed outstanding command in that position and will continue to be deployed there by Marco Giampaolo, who likes to have a good distributor as pivot. They also have Lucas Biglia and might test Hakan Calhanoglu there, but the future of both is uncertain, so Bennacer could very well become an integral part of their squad.

Bennacer played in Ligue 2, at Arles-Avignon and Tours, before and after joining the Gunners, who reportedly turned down the opportunity to match the Rossoneri’s offer, as it was in their rights after the sale to Empoli. He has 16 caps with Algeria.

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