Arsenal have turned down the chance to re-sign Ismael Bennacer and will, instead, pick up 30% of his fee.
The 21-year-old looks set to join Napoli in a permanent move after the Serie A side made a €12m offer. As per his contract, Empoli were obliged to offer the player to Arsenal for the same amount but the Gunners rejected the chance to bring the player back to London.
Should Napoli conclude the deal, Bennacer will not move until the summer, remaining with Empoli for the rest of the season. Arsenal will pick up 30% of the final fee.
Speaking last January, Bennacer revealed that his Empoli contract contained a clause that would allow Arsenal to re-sign him if they wished.
“According to Arsène Wenger, there were many players in midfield at the club. I know I could have claimed a place, even if it’s difficult,” the youngster told Foot Mercato in 2018.
“But after that, I did not want to take chances and waste more time. I wanted to play and consistently. Who knows, maybe one day I will go back to Arsenal through the front door.
“There are several clauses in my contract. So there is a possibility that I will go back to Arsenal. Everything will depend on my evolution.”
Bennacer only ever made one League Cup appearance for Arsenal’s first team and that was during the 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in November 2015. The Frenchman had only just joined from Arles, so it wasn’t exactly the best start to his Arsenal career.
He did go on to make 24 appearances for the u23s and impressed with 16 Ligue 2 performances while on loan at Tours in 2017. He scored once and provided two assists while there.
Since moving to Empoli, Bennacer has featured 60 times for the Serie B side, scoring two and assisting five from a defensive midfield position.