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Arsenal: Edu makes Ismael Bennacer contact

Arsenal are interested in a deal to bring Ismael Bennacer back to The Emirates.

That’s according to a report by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), who claim that both the Gunners and Chelsea have made contact with the AC Milan defensive midfielder in order to determine whether the 25-year-old would be interested in a move to the Premier League in 2023.

However, the report goes on to state that the Serie A side are also in discussions with the Algeria international regarding the extension of his contract at the San Siro, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2024.

An earlier report by fellow Italian media outlet CalcioMercatoWeb even suggested that Mikel Arteta’s side would be willing to offer €20m (£17m) plus Thomas Partey in order to bring Bennacer back to north London, however, Paolo Maldini is said to be unwilling to part with the 25-year-old for anything less than €60m (£51.5m) in cash.

Arteta’s dream

Considering just how impressive Bennacer has been since his £14.5m move to Milan back in the summer of 2019, coupled with central midfield undoubtedly being the area of Arteta’s squad that currently lacks the most depth, the argument that the Algerian would be a dream signing for the Edu to get over the line is a relatively easy one to make.

Indeed, over his 15 Serie A appearances so far this season, the £32.5m-rated talent has been in dominating form in front of Milan’s backline, making an average of 2.3 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 0.5 clearances and winning 4.9 duels – at a success rate of 55% – per game.

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The £46k-per-week enforcer has also caught the eye going forwards, having bagged one goal, provided one assist and created two big chances for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 2.0 key passes, taking 0.4 shots and completing one dribble – at a success rate of 63% – per match.

These returns have seen the player who Khaireddine Rouba labelled a “warrior” and Stefano Pioli dubbed a “complete midfielder” average a simply sensational Sofascore match rating of 7.29, not only ranking him as Milan’s best performer in the league but also as the joint 10th-best player in the top flight of Italian football as a whole.

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Furthermore, FBref also rank Bennacer in the top 6% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for shot-creating actions per 90, as well as the top 20% for passes attempted, the top 21% for passes completed, the top 13% for progressive passes, the top 11% for dribbles completed and the top 6% for tackles over the last 365 days – highlighting just how well-rounded the 25-year-old is.

Indeed, with Bennacer evidently being a creative, hard-working and tough tackling option in the middle of the park, it is clear to see that the 40-cap star would not only represent an excellent addition to Arsenal’s current options in central midfield, but he could also be something of a dream signing for Arteta and his title challengers.