The Manchester clubs could be set for a transfer duel this summer, for the pursuit of AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

An exclusive report from Fichajes has delved into Manchester United’s midfield conundrum. It appears the club is desperate to reinforce their midfield unit in the upcoming summer transfer window, and one player they are keeping a close eye on is Ismael Bennacer.

The Red Devils had initially targeted Miralem Pjanic and Wilfred Ndidi. However, they were put off by the economic demands of their respective clubs. It has eventually led Manchester United to a cost-effective alternative in the shape of Bennacer, an ex-Arsenal youth player who has enjoyed immense success at AC Milan this season.

A central midfielder by trade, the 23-year-old had forged a formidable midfield partnership alongside Franck Kessie. Their collective contributions in the middle of the park were, in fact, a vital reason behind Milan’s extraordinary start to the campaign, as the Rossoneri outshone all their competitors.

Bennacer previously spent two years at Arsenal. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Bennacer previously spent two years at Arsenal. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Benncacer’s progress, though, has been halted by a muscle injury this season. From the start of December to early March, the midfielder had made only three league appearances. His injury problems, though, have not deterred Manchester United, who seem to have been attracted by Bennacer’s technical prowess and his ability to carve through opposing defences with his accurate forward balls.

There is no secret attached to the fact that the Red Devils are desperate to find a long-term replacement for the ageing Nemanja Matic. As mentioned earlier, Wilfred Ndidi has been one of the names linked with a move to Manchester United in the summer.

In Bennacer, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will find himself a relatively cost-effective option who will be desperate to perform in the Premier League after failing to make a breakthrough at Arsenal. He has proven his credentials in Serie A well and could prove to be an ideal replacement Matic, as well as providing competition for Fred.

His arrival at Old Trafford can even allow Solskjaer to offload Donny van de Beek after a turbulent season in England. The Dutchman has been notably linked with a potential player-plus-cash deal with Borussia Dortmund, in exchange for none other than Manchester United’s key target Jadon Sancho this summer.

How Donny van de Beek could play a key role in helping Manchester United sign Jadon Sancho | THT Opinions

Manchester United, however, face strong competition from cross-town rivals Manchester City in the pursuit of Bennacer. It appears the midfielder’s impressive technical, positional and tactical knowledge has impressed Pep Guardiola, who will be determined to shore up the midfield unit and provide additional competition for Ilkay Gundogan.

Therefore, an intriguing transfer battle seems to be setting up for the services of Ismael Bennacer heading into the summer transfer window. It now remains to be seen if either of Manchester United or Manchester City can swoop the former Arsenal midfielder away from AC Milan.

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