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Serge Gnabry isn’t the only youngster we direly miss

Serge Gnabry set the world on fire by wearing an Arsenal kit, but while he may be our true lost love, he’s not the only one I’d take back right about now.

It’s usually best not to get me started about Serge Gnabry, because that inevitably leads me to talking about Tony Pulis, and I really don’t like talking about Tony Pulis. There are too many happy things going on at Arsenal to waste time and space on him. That said, for all the mention of Serge Gnabry, it got me thinking about someone else—another youth product I’d take back right this moment.

And it was rumored too. Last year, he was supposed to be on the table with a buyback to come to Arsenal for next to nothing. He played a position we sorely needed in a way we sorely lacked and we didn’t go get him.

Instead, he went and joined Ivan Gazidis at AC Milan. ‘He’, if you haven’t guessed it yet, referring to Ismael Bennacer. The 22-year-old pivot who is the exact midfielder we need right about now.

Bennacer captured so much attention while at Empoli last year. He notched five assists while emerging as a breakout box-to-box midfielder and now that he is 22-years-old and at Milan, the attention is magnifying.

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Despite not following up on the assists, Bennacer continues to show just how strong he is in the midfield. He has such tenacity paired with just enough control to not make him just a wayward wrecking ball. While he boasts considerable defensive numbers and a healthy collection of yellow cards, he still manages to offset his ferocity with composure on the ball that translates to impressive pivot play.

Bennacer is the starting centermost midfielder at Milan and ranks as one of their top performers on the year. He’s the best dribbler on the team, completing three per match, and yet he’s also one of the surest in possession, something that could really be seen budding during his time at Empoli.

The Algerian never got his shot at the Emirates, and if we weren’t interested in bringing him back after what he did at Empoli, it’s likely we never will. But like Serge Gnabry, this is another guy who could have fixed a problem before it ever even became one.

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But here I go blubbering over lost opportunities. Between Gnabry and Bennacer, though, there’s plenty to blubber about.

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