Amid talk that Paris Saint-Germain are set to step up their interest, Milan should arguably have no intention of listening to offers for midfielder Ismael Bennacer.
The 22-year-old arrived last summer with high expectations after an impressive stint at Empoli was followed by being named Player of the Tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations.
He endured a slow start initially with the Rossoneri as he struggled to break into the starting XI, but since the back-end of October he hasn’t looked back and has established himself as a fundamental figure in the side.
Bennacer has made 23 appearances so far this season and will undoubtedly add to that tally when the campaign gets back underway this month, while he will play a pivotal role in ensuring that there is a successful end to the year for us.
From his work ethic to his tenacity in offering defensive coverage and protection in front of the backline to his technical quality and composure in possession, he has brought a new dynamic to the Milan midfield that has been missing for years.
Capable of playing at a high tempo, able to break through a high press and to get us moving up the pitch quickly, he does the simple things well and cleans up danger regularly as he has now emerged as one of the most important players in the side.
Naturally, there are still things that he can do better. With more experience and maturity he will be able cut out mistakes and misjudgements which have led to many cautions this season, while perhaps with the right partner next to him in midfield, there’s still more room for him to express himself on the ball.
Taking that all into consideration, it’s clear that Bennacer should be a pillar of our plans moving forward. Therefore, with Il Milanista suggesting that PSG are ready to bid up to €50m for the Algerian international, Milan must be clear in their intention of Bennacer not being for sale.
The report surprisingly plays down Bennacer’s season thus far and while there are inconsistencies in his game, it’s arguably a disservice to not give him more credit. Further, it’s suggested that if Milan aren’t able to cash in elsewhere on other players, perhaps the idea of selling Bennacer could be more appealing.
This is arguably a potentially crucial decision for Milan and the hierarchy. Sell, and it gives the clear indication that financial benefits outweigh competitiveness on the pitch and it’s a cycle that could be repeated moving forward. Keep, and it gives supporters hope that we’re trying to build a team capable of competing in the coming years and we’ll keep our top assets if it helps us achieve that objective.
La Gazzetta dello Sport note that Bennacer is among a group of players who could have a key role under Ralf Rangnick if he arrives this summer, but regardless of who’s in charge, he’s a player that we should ultimately be planning to build around rather than view him as a sellable asset.