Pep Guardiola made personal contact with Ismael Bennacer to try and convince him to join Manchester City, according to reports in France.

Udinese Calcio v AC Milan Serie A 1569839332
UDINE, ITALY: Ismael Bennacer of AC Milan looks on during a Serie A match on August 25, 2019. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

RMC report that despite AC Milan’s disappointing season, Ismael Bennacer caught the eye of Pep Guardiola. The former Arsenal youth midfielder joined Milan from Empoli over the summer, with the Gunners profiting through a sell-on clause.

It looks like Milan are the real winners, though. RMC claim Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are both courting Bennacer, who has a €50m release clause with his current club. Guardiola made direct contact with him to discuss their project.

At this stage, however, their interest isn’t materialising into anything more. Plus, the player would want guarantees on his playing time and would favour strong footballing factors over a big pay-rise.

Manchester City and PSG would have to convince him he’s not going to be one of the many big-money players they sign to come on occasionally in the 80th minute and start domestic cup matches. He’s already a starter at AC Milan, one of Italy’s biggest clubs.

Bennacer made 23 appearances this season before the Serie A shutdown. By the end of October, he’d made himself a starter, and he only missed two games through suspension after that.

If the chasing clubs don’t pay his €50m clause, it may be difficult to convince Milan to sell.