Ismael Bennacer has opened up on his time at Arsenal and why it didn’t quite work out for him in North London.
The Frenchman joined the Gunners as a promising teen from Arles, signing a long-term deal at the club upon his arrival in 2015.
The midfielder was spotted as a promising talent and he did manage a game for the first-team, coming off the bench in a League Cup clash against Sheffield Wednesday around three months after his arrival.
But that was it for his Arsenal career, going on to join Tours on loan two years later with no more first-team experience under his belt at the Emirates Stadium, eventually leaving the same year to join Italian club Empoli.
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Bennacer is now at AC Milan, racking up 39 appearances since his arrival last year, and that has Arsenal fans asking why he wasn’t given more of a chance in North London.
The now 23-year-old answered that question in a recent interview with Goal, saying: “Why didn’t it work there? I arrived in England in July. The first two months I stayed in a hotel because I didn’t want to go and live with a family I didn’t know,” he said.
“I was 17, I was not of age and I couldn’t live alone, so my sister come to stay with me. Then Chaines joins me, with whom I had been engaged since school and who would become my wife in England.
Ismael Bennacer left Arsenal in 2017
(Image: Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
“In September, finally, I see the pitch. In the League Cup, against Sheffield: Chamberlain gets hurt, Walcott gets in his place and after two minutes he gets hurt too, so Wenger throws me in. The problem is that he puts a lot of space on the left of the front three: it’s a role I’ve never played.
“I felt crazy pressure on me. I lost a few balls, but I also recovered fewer. After that I didn’t play anymore, but I have no regrets: I trained with important…