Ismael Bennacer, who joined the Rossoneri about a year ago from Empoli, is one of the players that has continued to improve throughout the season. Playing alongside Franck Kessie, he has been vital for the team.
Although Marco Giampaolo felt the Algerian needed time before becoming a starter, as highlighted by MilanNews.it, Stefano Pioli decided to focus on him right away. The midfielder repaid this trust and quickly became a cornerstone of the team.
Bennacer arrived from Empoli, who had just been relegated to Serie B at the time, for a figure close to €16m. An important investment for a player who, however, had offered convincing performances in his first year in Serie A.
He even attracted the interest of other European clubs such as Lyon, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund, as the report continues. Milan moved in advanced and managed to close the deal before the African Cup of Nations, of which Bennacer was the MVP.
The transfer to Milan, however, hasn’t been all smiles for the 22-year-old, at least not at the beginning. The relationship with Giampaolo didn’t take off and he certainly struggled to regain confidence in the first months.
Just take the game against Fiorentina as an example, which the Rossoneri lost by three goals to one. Bennacer caused two penalties and was clearly in difficulty, just like the rest of the team. His position, though, made his mistakes very clear.
The horror start didn’t stop him, though, becoming an undisputed starter in Stefano Pioli’s team. In the 4-2-3-1 formation, Bennacer acts both as a screen in front of the defence and as a ‘washing machine’, receiving and cleaning most of the balls that his teammates pass him – always at a very high intensity.
Furthermore, among the players with 30 or more dribbling attempts in Serie A this season, Bennacer is the one with the highest success rate (80.4%). Game after game, Milan’s midfield leader has become increasingly familiar with the ball and his role.
He’s one of the best Milan signings in recent years, as well as one of the best young midfielders in Serie A.