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Arsenal set sights on Ismael Bennacer for January transfer

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By Martin Graham | 29th Nov 2022

Arsenal have identified the first of their January transfer targets in AC Milan man Ismael Bennacer, according to reports.

The reports also claim that the Gunners are willing to include Thomas Partey in a player plus cash swap deal for the Algerian, who started his career at Arsenal before moving on to make a name for himself in Europe.

Milan have slapped a €60 million price tag on Bennacer and reports in Italy say that the club will only listen to offers of that amount and above. This is why Arsenal are believed to be ready to offer Thomas Partey and €20 million for the Algerian’s services.

Bennacer was considered as one of Arsenal’s best youngsters between 2015 and 2017. However, the club chose to move him on and sold him to Italian Serie A club Empoli, who moved him on for £14 million only two years later, making a big profit from the Algerian’s sale.

The 24-year-old is now a key player for the Rossoneri and has made over 120 appearances for them. He played a key role in helping them win the Serie A title last season after a decade of decadence. He has also made a strong start to the season, racking up 15 appearances so far while contributing a goal and an assist to Milan’s cause.

Arteta’s side is believed to be one midfielder away from stability but it is counterintuitive to let Partey, who has been one of their most important players, leave at this point in the season.

They are still keeping tabs on Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans and intend to make one more push for him in January. It is believed Bennacer will be a better match for the Belgian, thanks to his press-resistance, dribbling and ability to progress the ball upfield.

Arsenal are also said to be keeping tabs on Leandro Paredes, who is on loan at Juventus from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentine, who is currently with his country at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has failed to cement a place at Juventus this season. His chances at PSG does not look good either, as the French champions have found peace with Vitinha playing alongside Marco Verratti in their midfield.

Arsenal could make a move for him knowing his situation, as they seek to solve their midfield worries.

The 26-year-old’s price tag is unknown, but could go up based on his performances at the ongoing World Cup. Arsenal are looking to enter discussions with PSG if they fail to attain any of their primary midfield targets.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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