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Arsenal midfielder Ismael Bennacer seems to be on the verge of a move to Italian side Empoli, according to latest Sky sources.

Sky journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has tweeted that Bennacer is heading to Empoli on a permanent deal.

Bennacer spent the second half of last season on loan with Tours, making 14 appearances for the Ligue 2 side and scoring a free-kick late on in the season against Sochaux.

Since joining Arsenal in 2015 Ismael is yet to make a league appearance, but he made his senior debut in the League Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday, after Arsenal were forced into two substitutions in the first 19 minutes of the match.

After starting his international career with the French youth teams, the French-born Algerian then switched his international allegiance back to the country of his ancestors. The 19-year-old made his debut for his country in a qualifier for the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

Bennacer made 12 appearances for the Arsenal u23s in 2016/17, before his loan to Tours. However, he hasn’t appeared competitively for the academy in the current campaign, despite playing in pre-season friendlies, which suggests that there could be some truth to the rumours.

With Carl Jenkinson, Cohen Bramall and Gabriel also completing moves away from the club in the last few days, it seems that Wenger was telling the truth when he said that the Gunners are keen to cut down the squad before the deadline.

The only real surprise here is that Jenkinson has gone on a loan, whilst Bennacer seems to be leaving on a permanent deal, when most fans would’ve expected it to be the other way around.


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