Tuesday January 8 2019
Empoli hopeful over midfield trio

Beppe Iachini ‘doesn’t think’ Rade Krunic, Ismael Bennacer or Hamed Traore will leave Empoli this month but backs them to ‘play for big clubs’ one day.

The trio helped Empoli end the first half of the season three points clear of the Serie A relegation zone in their debut campaigns as top-flight players, naturally fuelling speculation that bigger sides could snap them up.

Nonetheless, their Coach told Corriere dello Sport: “Krunic, Bennacer and Traore are having good seasons.

“They’re very young, but I’ve improved so many players like them through the years. They’re working with the right heads, with great conviction, and they have great room for growth.

“I don’t think they’ll leave in January, even we’re expecting offers for them. I talked to the club and I don’t think there’s a possibility of them leaving.

“We have the youngest midfield in Serie A. All three were born as trequartistas and we’re looking to turn them into real midfielders who give us quality and organisation in the middle of the park.

“Traore, a trequartista, has adapted well enough to play in front of the back four. Not everyone believed he could.

“It was like Sensi at Sassuolo: it was said that he was a mezz’ala, but he’s delivering results in the role I’ve given him.

“Milan want him and he’s been called up to their national team. Bennacer can have a great career in his role, but there’s a lot to work for him to do on a tactical level, although he’s improving in the transitional phase.

“I have a quality midfield. These guys can play for big clubs, but now they have keep growing with us.” 

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