Former Arsenal u23 captain, Semi Ajayi, has completed a move to West Brom while Marc Bola could be on his way to Brentford, and Ismael Bennacer continues to cause waves after being voted AFCON Player of the Tournament.
Ajayi left Arsenal in 2015, first on loan to Cardiff City in March before making the move permanent on a free transfer in the summer.
From there he headed to AFC Wimbledon on loan, then Crewe Alexandra and Rotheram before that move was made permanent without making a single appearance for the Bluebirds. Now, he has signed for West Brom for £1.5m with add-ons that could take it up to £2m for the 25-year-old. Ajayi has signed a four-year contract.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” said Ajayi. “I want to play at the highest level and I have joined a club with the ambition to get there.”
Marc Bola, meanwhile, could be on his way from Blackpool to Brentford where former Gunner Josh Dasilva currently plays. Brentford have reportedly bid £750,000 for the 21-year-old left-back who left Arsenal on a free transfer last summer.
Arsenal have both a sell-on clause and a matching option on the midfielder who is thought to be on his way to AC Milan, where Ivan Gazidis currently holds court. But, since that story, it has been claimed Arsenal rejected the chance to sign the player Gazidis allowed to leave for £900k 24 months ago for £14.4m.
Still only 21 should he move to AC Milan (or any other club), Arsenal will receive 30% of any transfer fee from Empoli.
Bennacer left Arsenal in the summer of 2017 and admitted not long after that there were clauses in his contract that could allow him to return.
“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.
“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.”
He also added, “I only have positive things to say about my time at Arsenal. I was able to continue my development at a very structured club. It allowed me to have a professional formation and I needed that step. I regret nothing from my time there. I learned a lot. I just knew I needed to leave as I didn’t have my spot in the first-team.”
Bennacer joined from Arles-Avignon in 2015 and the Gunners managed to beat Manchester City to sign the then 19-year-old. It’s just a pity, given how well he’s developed, we couldn’t have convinced him to stay.
In all, he made just one senior Arsenal appearance after both Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott picked up injures in the first 19 minutes of a League Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday in October, 2015.
We won’t discuss the score…