Ismael Bennacer’s transfer has been anticipated for weeks now after an agreement was reached with AC Milan and Empoli for €16 million, according to Calciomercato.com and confirmed by RMC Sport.
The player is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Rossoneri with an annual salary of €1.5 million.
AFCON star steps up
After two years at Arsenal and having played in both Serie A and Serie B for Empoli, Bennacer made a name for himself as his team beat Senegal in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday.
At only 21 years of age, Bennacer was named the Best Player of the tournament and was also joint assist leader, tied with future Milan teammate Franck Kessie of the Ivory Coast.
Interest in the transfer has intensified by his brilliant performance at AFCON, with other Italian clubs such as Italian side Fiorentina and German side Borussia Dortmund also making offers.
Additionally, when Arsenal sold the young player to Empoli in 2017, they retained a first option on his future transfer. However, Arsenal declined their option, paving the way for AC Milan to sign the talented young midfielder.
From relegation to rebuilding
With Empoli relegated back to Serie B, Milan took the opportunity to invest in the young talent. After purchasing fellow Empoli midfielder Rade Krunic, they quickly entered negotiations for Bennacer.
Milan have been missing a good deep-lying playmaker for a long time, and Bennacer could be just that player.
In spite of ownership changes and other setbacks, Milan have been trying to obtain Champions League qualification once again, and Bennacer could prove key to those chances should the transfer go through.
After Bennacer’s medicals are complete and he signs his contract, he will enjoy some vacation time before joining new coach Marco Giampaolo and the team.
AC Milan arrived in the United States yesterday where they will participate in the ICC Tournament.