Great Britain

Arsenal chiefs ‘wondering how they let AC Milan star Ismael Bennacer go’ after amazing career breakthrough in Italy

ARSENAL chiefs have been left furious at their decision to let Ismael Bennacer leave in 2017.

The midfielder had arrived in North London two years earlier as a prodigious 17-year-old from Arles.

But he was allowed to depart with just one first-team game under his belt.

Following two years with Empoli, that included a Serie B title winner's medal, Bennacer joined AC Milan for around £14million.

This term the Algerian has stunned with his brilliant performances at the heart of Stefano Pioli's table-topping midfield.

And according to Calciomercato, Gunners chiefs 'don’t understand how it was possible' to let him go without bringing back from Empoli - as they'd had the option to do so.

Bennacer's one and only appearance came in a 3-0 League Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in 2015.

And he recently revealed that Arsene Wenger didn't even play him in the right position.

He told Sportweek: "I arrived in England in July. The first two months I stayed in the hotel because I didn’t want to go and live with a family I didn’t know.

"I was 17, I wasn’t of age and couldn’t live alone, so my sister came to stay with me.

"Then I was joined by Chaines, with whom I had been engaged since school and who would become my wife in England.

In September, finally, I played my first game. In the League Cup, against Sheffield Wednesday.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got injured, Theo Walcott was brought on in his place and after two minutes he gets injured too, so Wenger throws me on.

"The problem is that he puts me wide left in the front three, it’s a role I’ve never played before.

"I felt a crazy pressure on me. I lost a few balls, but I recovered a few."

Bennacer, 23, then opened up on his eventual Gunners departure.

I still had a four-year contract with Arsenal, but I went where they really wanted me

Ismael Bennacer

He continued: "After that I didn’t play anymore, but I have no regrets. I trained with important players like Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla.

"I still had a four-year contract with Arsenal, but I went where they really wanted me.

"I didn’t know Empoli but I accepted to go down from the Premier League to the Italian Serie B because that was the club that wanted me most of all.

"The reason why I went to AC Milan, I chose them for their history, but even more because his project was the best for me."

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