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Man City eye summer swoop for 22-year-old Serie A ace – Could he help Guardiola fill Silva’s void?

Ismael Bennacer in action for AC Milan
Ismael Bennacer in action for AC Milan

Why Manchester City should sign AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer

According to a report from Footmercato (h/t Express), Manchester City are eyeing a summer move for AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer. Pep Guardiola sees the former Arsenal academy ace as the ideal replacement for veteran superstar David Silva and wants to bring him in before next season. (h/t Express)

Having come through the youth ranks at AC Arles in France, Bennacer joined Arsenal in 2015. The midfielder impressed with the Gunners’ youth teams but managed just one first-team appearance. After a short loan spell at FC Tours, he joined Italian outfit Empoli in the summer of 2017.

Bennacer spent two years with Empoli, helping them to promotion from Serie B in his debut season. Having made 77 appearances for the club, in which he scored two and assisted six goals, he joined AC Milan last summer. Since joining the Rossoneri, he has been one of their better players in a disappointing season for the club.

Ismael Bennacer in action for AC Milan
Ismael Bennacer in action for AC Milan

Manchester City, meanwhile, are set to face defeat in pursuit of a Premier League title hat-trick. At the time of suspension of football, Guardiola’s men were 25 points behind leaders Liverpool. However, they have won the league cup and are still in contention for the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Manchester City’s need for reinforcements

Nevertheless, for them to regain their dominance in the league, City need to invest in the squad this summer. Defensive additions should be a top priority for Guardiola & co. given their vulnerability at the back. However, adding another midfielder would serve them well in the long run.

Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan still have three years left on their contracts. However, club captain David Silva’s contract is on the verge of expiry. And the Spaniard has confirmed that he would be leaving at the end of the season. Furthermore, Fernandinho, who turned 35 earlier this month, is entering the final phase of his career.

David Silva will leave Manchester City at the end of the season
David Silva will leave Manchester City

City did sign Rodri last summer as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. Academy graduate Phil Foden is being primed to replace Silva in the first-team. However, City should add another central midfielder to the ranks to ensure requisite depth and quality in the squad.

To that end, Bennacer would be a smart addition for the Cityzens. As per the report, the 22-year-old is being eyed as a replacement for Silva. However, he has mostly been used as a defensive midfielder during his time at Empoli and now at AC Milan. Nevertheless, he possesses the creative abilities to play in an advanced role in the centre as well. (h/t Express)

Bennacer played a key role in Empoli’s Serie B triumph in his debut season and made the step up to Serie A seamlessly. In an AC Milan side that has struggled this term, the 22-year-old has stood out in his 23 appearances.

Furthermore, he was one of Algeria’s most important players in their Africa Cup of Nations triumph last year. In fact, the former Arsenal ace was named the Player of the Tournament.

Ismael Bennacer won the AFCON 2019 with Algeria
Bennacer won the AFCON 2019 with Algeria

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Given his exploits at club and international level, Bennacer would add more quality to the Manchester City midfield. Plus, his versatility would mean that Guardiola would be able to deploy him in a multitude of roles in the centre.

Verdict

Bennacer has impressed at all his clubs so far and with the Algerian national team as well. At 22, he is still young and should continue on an upward trajectory in his career. Hence, signing him would be a wise move by Manchester City. He would add young blood and depth to the midfield department that will be depleted by David Silva’s exit in the summer.

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