Ismael Bennacer says he has no regrets about the time he spent with Arsenal, but he needed to leave for a club that really wanted him.

VERONA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 15: Ismael Bennacer of AC Milan looks on during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona and AC Milan at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on September 15, 2019, in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
VERONA, ITALY: Ismael Bennacer of AC Milan looks on during a Serie A match on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek, former Gunner Ismael Bennacer claimed he didn’t have any regrets about his Arsenal spell.

“I arrived in England in July 2015,” Bennacer said (via Football-Italia). “Finally, in September, I got some time on the pitch, but I was thrown on after two other injuries against Sheffield, played wide left in a trident attack, which I had never done before.

“I felt incredible pressure and wasn’t sure what was going on.

“I never played again after that, but I have no regrets, as I still got to train with important players like Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. I had four years left on the Arsenal contract, but I had to be at a club where they really wanted me.”

Now playing for AC Milan, the midfielder spent a couple of years with a contract in North London, six months of which was actually spent on loan with Tours. He made one appearance for Arsenal in the League Cup, and he left for Serie B Empoli.

A couple of years later, after helping his new club up into Serie A, Bennacer drew plenty of attention from around Europe. Arsenal had the chance to re-sign him, but chose to cash in on their sell-on clause instead, as he joined Milan.

The AC Milan spell so far

The 22-year-old was playing regularly for his new club before the coronavirus shutdown. He made 23 appearances (21 starts) in all competitions in defensive midfield.

It wasn’t all good news, as Milan were struggling to mount any sort of challenge near the top of the table. They sat seventh after 26 games and had two teams a point behind with a game in hand each.

Bennacer also picked up far too many yellow cards. He received 12 in 20 games, leading to two yellow card suspensions. Otherwise, it was a solid individual start at a big club. Especially considering he’s still a young player.