One of Arsenal’s brightest young prospects at the time, Ismael Bennacer’s career didn’t quite work out at the Emirates.
The 21-year-old joined the Gunners in 2015 and transitioned from an attacking midfielder to someone more adept at playing the holding role.
However, after failing to get real first-team opportunities in north London, Bennacer joined Italian side Empoli in the summer of 2017 and has grown into one of the league’s finest midfielders.
Reports in recent weeks and months had suggested the Gunners were considering exercising their buy-back option on the Algerian, but according to journalist Fabrizio Romano, the north London side decided not to bring him back and he will instead move to Milan on a five-year deal.
After hearing about the club’s decision on the midfielder, many Gunners fans took to Twitter to voice their opinion on the matter and there was an air of resignation about what they had potentially missed out on.
Some fans pointed back to the situations surrounding Cesc Fabregas and Serge Gnabry as signs of how the side had been haunted in previous years by failing to bring back their former stars.
Indeed, following the departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus, a few Arsenal supporters felt Bennacer would have made the perfect replacement for the Welshman and questioned whether they had enough depth at the position now.
Check out some of the reaction of Arsenal fans below:
God damn this upsets me, buying back bennacer was a no brainer
— Jordan (@YourBoYJc1) 4 July 2019
This is literally like Fabregas from 2014, watch him become one of the best CM’s in the world in 2 years
— TPG (@MaksymilianSmi4) 5 July 2019
I am Algerian and an arsenal fan at the same time . Guys you really don’t know how this guy good is . He’s a real talent I watch all of his games hes now the best player in the African cup . I am really sad about letting this man go like that
— Med Wassim (@Wassim91909212) 5 July 2019
We need a midfielder to replace Ramsey but NO ok let’s be short in the midfield and be in trouble when Torreira gets injured from too many games
— TPG (@MaksymilianSmi4) 4 July 2019
disastrous decision. he is another Gnabry situation
— Survivor (@m7md_ibrahim7) 4 July 2019
Should’ve bought him back we had a buyback clause. Excellent player
— Daniel Adams (@Daniel_Adams_15) 5 July 2019
— Nazzy_ (@NazzyB7) 4 July 2019
He’d bench all of our current midfielders. This club is doomed
— Wesley Keet (@WesleyOnKeys) 5 July 2019
We still don’t have a Ramsey replacement
— tha_GUNNERS_man (@Official_AE10) 5 July 2019