Wednesday April 3 2019
Bennacer, football's artist

Born in the city where Vincent van Gogh painted his most famous works, Empoli midfielder Ismael Bennacer brings artistic flair to the sport, writes Wayne Girard.

There is inspiration in Arles. Vincent van Gogh had his artistic breakthrough in the French town, painting one of his most famous pieces, Starry Night Over the Rhone. A century later, Ismael Bennacer was born and is destined to be a different type of star.

Bennacer became part of Arsenal’s youth academy in 2015. Transferring to Empoli in 2017, who were then in Serie B, the young brain was a key player in his side’s promotion to Serie A.

Making the jump into the top flight, Bennacer is building upon his success from last season, becoming one of the league’s best defensive playmakers - or regista. His calmness and dynamism have become signature components to his play. Most of all, his genial intelligence and vision to read movement have poised him as one of the top young players in the league.

Remaining composed against major sides has only increased interest, and a departure from the Tuscan club now seems imminent for the 21-year-old. With his left foot the brush painting the pitch as his canvas, Bennacer’s abilities will lead him to a top club this summer.

During the January transfer window, it was rumored that Arsenal were looking to recall their youth product, before deciding to activate a clause adding a 30% sell-on fee for a future transfer. Meanwhile, Roma’s ex-sporting director Monchi had been denied his acquisition in the same window.

Speaking with Radio CRC earlier this week, Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi shed light on the situation, explaining that while Napoli had concrete interest, Inter could also be in the mix for a bid this summer. 

Napoli would seem like the most suitable squad given the departure of Jorginho and Marek Hamsik, leaving a void in the centre of the Partenopei midfield. Giving Coach Carlo Ancelotti a tactical passer in midfield would provide a new outlet for his side, reminiscent of the days when his protege Andrea Pirlo dominated world football from the same position.

Both Inter and Roma look to be heading towards a summer squad revolution though, pending Champions League qualification. While the former has Marcelo Brozovic leading the midfield, he could look towards greener pastures as he enters the peak years of his career.

Meanwhile, the Giallorossi’s managerial situation remains unclear for next season. They would likely need to offload a midfielder before adding another, and have to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations following the amortization of last year’s costly purchases under Monchi.

According to Corsi, Empoli do not need to sell - which if true, will command a strong price for their genius in the making. If the Azzurri do get relegated though - as they currently sit in the bottom three - then Bennacer will surely force his hand to for joining one of the league’s best sides.

Have your say...
@xander95 I'm very far from being a SJW, there's a distinct difference between being an SJW and being against racism. I just think that Football Italia should write a blog on the subject and give us their views on the matter. Bonucci's comments might not have been directly racist but he's proved he's racist, it's as simple as that.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 1:42pm
Maybe he will move to Fiorentina , Veretout and Gerson are both leaving
on the 4th April, 2019 at 10:01pm
@Alexander J Rubboli , this isn't a SJW blog buddy, I dont agree with Bonucci's assesment of the situation but his remarks were far from "racist". in terms of racism and overall poor behaviour from fans in Sere A this situation was mild
on the 4th April, 2019 at 6:35pm
Milan should pick him up and play him next to Bakayoko. Fire Gattuso and bring in someone who will play the 4-2-3-1 next season, as I've been saying all season: Gigio; Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Caldara, Calabria; Bennacer, Bakayoko; New Winger, Paqueta, Castillejo/New Winger 2; Paitek. Players sold this summer: Kessie, Suso, Biglia, Calhanoglu, Strinic, Mauri. Free release: Bertolacci and Montolivo. Buy: Bakayoko, Bennacer, two wingers, maybe another central midfielder.
on the 4th April, 2019 at 12:36pm
This article is of no interest to me but i'd like to know why there is no blog or view from Football Italia in relation to the incidents and racist abuse suffered by Moise Kean at the hands of some Cagliari fans. This website should be confronting the issue head on as it's the face of Italian Football in the UK. Not addressing the issue makes Football Italia look like their sitting on the fence and maybe agree with Bonucci's racist remarks that it's was 50-50 Kean's fault.
on the 4th April, 2019 at 8:50am

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