Football News

AC Milan confirm signing of Afcon 2019 Player of the Tournament

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 20:11, 4 August 2019

AC Milan have confirmed the signing of Algerian midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

Bennacer has joined from Italian side Empoli on a five-year deal, penning a contract with the Rossoneri until 2024.

Who is Ismael Bennacer? Five things to know…

  • Bennacer is a 21-year-old defensive midfielder.
  • He played for Arsenal’s youth team and even made a senior appearance in 2015/16.
  • He played all bar once in Serie A for Empoli last season.
  • In an Algerian side boasting Riyad Mahrez, Bennacer stood out at AFCON.
  • He subsequently won Player of the Tournament as Les Fennecs lifted the trophy.

Bennacer joins the Rossoneri after his former club Arsenal reportedly declined the chance to re-sign the midfielder as per an agreement in his contract. Milan have paid a figure in the region of £14.4m for the promising youngster.

He has followed the path of Rade Krunic, who left Empoli this summer for the dizzy heights of Milan as well, joining for £7.2m.

Bennacer was outstanding at AFCON, winning the Player of the Tournament and building on an impressive season at Empoli, despite the campaign ending in relegation.

The Italian giants had to fight off reported interest from Serie A rivals Napoli, but Marco Giampaolo has now secured his man.

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A new era at Milan

This summer has been one of change at the San Siro. Giampaolo has come in to replace the fiery Gennaro Gattuso and is clearly intent on putting his stamp on the side.

The signing of Bennacer took their spending to over £90m: the marquee signings being Theo Hernandez from Real Madrid following his loan spell at Real Sociedad, the permanent signing of Franck Kessie – a player who could well be the Algerian’s midfield partner – and Rafael Leao for £32m from Lille.

Promising young forward Patrick Cutrone has surprisingly been allowed to go to Wolves for £16m and stalwarts Cristian Zapata, Ignazio Abate and Riccardo Montolivo are three of 12 senior players to have left Milan this summer.