Manchester City are reportedly set to make a move to try and sign Ismael Bennacer from AC Milan this summer.
Italian outlet Sport Mediaset reported that the Premier League champions are ready to approach the San Siro outfit, with Pep Guardiola apparently making contact with the Algerian about a possible move to the Etihad Stadium.
The 22-year-old has a release clause of €50m (£44.8m) with the Serie A club, although no formal offer has yet been made for the midfielder (as per Sport Mediaset).
Bennacer, who made one senior appearance for Arsenal back in 2015, only joined AC Milan last summer from Empoli, doing so off the back of being named Player of the Tournament at the African Cup of Nations as he (along with Riyad Mahrez) helped Algeria to triumph in the final.
He has been a regular feature at defensive midfield for Milan this season, making 23 appearances in all competitions, and has distinguished himself as an uncompromising presence in the San Siro engine room.
He wins 2.4 tackles per game, a better average than anyone at Manchester City and superior to Guardiola’s defensive midfield options Fernandinho (1.9) and Rodri (1.5). His interceptions per game average of 1.7 is also better than the Etihad duo, with Fernandinho averaging one per game and Rodri 0.8. His tendency to get stuck in can often get him into trouble, though, as he has been booked 12 times in just 20 league appearances this season.
The Algerian is no slouch on the ball, either, as illustrated by a match average of three successful dribbles. By way of comparison, winger Raheem Sterling is Manchester City’s best performer in this regard with 1.8 per game (as per WhoScored).
With Fernandinho now 35 and used as a centre-back this season, Guardiola may well be looking to bring in a long-term successor to the Brazilian who can also provide strong competition for Rodri.
Bennacer could well be the right man for the job, although he will need to curb his tendency to get on the wrong side of referees so frequently.
Man City fans, would Bennacer be a worthy long-term successor to Fernandinho at the Etihad? Share your views in the comments section below!
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