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Ismael Bennacer Medicals Pending: Here's What the Algerian Brings to Milan

Milan have reportedly closed another deal with Empoli for their Algerian CM Ismael Bennacer for 16 million plus bonuses. The 21-year old is a huge prospect who was developed at Arsenal and is currently impressing at the AfCON. Here’s a look at what Milan are getting:

UC Sampdoria v Empoli - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

AC Milan have reportedly closed another deal with Empoli for their Algerian CM Ismael Bennacer for 16 million plus bonuses. The 21-year old is a huge prospect who was developed at Arsenal and is currently impressing at the AFCON. Here's a look at what Milan are getting:


Bennacer has been a central fixture for Empoli over the past two seasons winning the Serie B in 2017/18 and getting relegated in 2018/19. He has been an incredible prospect as a deep-lying playmaker as he holds the ball well and distributes it exceptionally. Bennacer had been lauded throughout this season for his ability to pick out great through balls and to anchor the midfield offering both defensive cover and offensive movement. Bennacer is a perfect signing for Milan as he fits a similar profile to the kind of holding midfielder that Milan need and especially one with Giampaolo’s required skills. Best of all, he is joining on the cheap and has a huge upside given he is only 21 years old. He can be the anchorman for Milan for a while if he hits the ground running.

Recovery and Defensive Buffer

Bennacer is very good defensively despite his fame coming from his ability to dribble. After the past season with Bakayoko, Milan fans must have become accustomed to having a holding midfielder who won the ball back so smoothly by picking pockets and tackling hard without fully committing. Bennacer has these qualities, watching past Empoli games it is uncanny how similar his approach to recoveries is to Bakayoko and his small stature has not held him back as he holds his ground and is agile when recovering the ball. Bennacer will be playing deep under Giampaolo and will act as a defensive buffer hence it is good to see that he has the ability to shut down play in the middle of the park.

Dribbling and Build Up

Bennacer is mostly known for for his quick feet and his ability to pull himself out of tight spots throughout his incredible dribbling skills. His small stature gives his that extra balance to stay on his feet and he is quite fast giving him the pace to escape opposing players. He has a great take-on rate and his dribbles often kickstart attacks as he uses his dribbling ability to break through the lines before picking out a key pass. He has demonstrated his strength on the ball and his ability to develop play through his dribbling which is a creative bonus to have with a deep-lying playmaker.


I have keenly watched Bennacer at the Africa Cup of Nations over the past few weeks and one thing is clear, he is an impact player. Bennacer is someone you notice on the pitch and his impact of the tempo and flow of the game is undeniable. He will be an amazing player to watch but more importantly he is the kind of regista Milan need, one who will change the game and influence the way the team operates. He was awarded the MOTM in two of Algeria’s three group stage matches is a key player for his national team at just 21, that speaks volumes of his potential as a player for the future. Moreover, Bennacer has shown up in big games for Empoli last season such as the shock 2-1 victory over Napoli where he provided both assists to gain a big win for them.

Pinpoint Passing

Bennacer grew up as an Arsenal youth player before his 2 year stint with Empoli, he was trained to be a playmaker and has an exceptional passing ability. One aspect of Bennacer’s play that stands out is his ability to pick out just the right pass, his understanding of the game and his vision are tremendous. This coupled with his pinpoint passes will be a huge asset for Milan in the coming season. Bennacer has a knack for staying calm under pressure and his timing is just right, these aspects have been missed since the days of Pirlo and he could perhaps be the first true regista the club has acquired in the past decade. He is a player to look forward to and Milan fans should be excited to welcome the young Algerian.


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