Spotted early by scouts at Arsenal, Ismaël Bennacer could and should have been one of the emerging talents of recent years at the Emirates.
However, he ended up going to Empoli in Italy, where he developed enough to attract the attention of Milan, who bought him and helped him reach another level.
So much so, in fact, that the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain took notice during the last transfer window, leading to stories about Pep Guardiola reportedly speaking directly with the player’s entourage.
How much of that was true remains to be seen, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if the Etihad club did want him, and they’ll find it much easier to get him next season when a €50m release clause in his contract will become active, only available to foreign clubs.
Such an amount shouldn’t be an issue to either Manchester City or the Ligue 1 champions, and there is a fear in Italy his rise could see him leave two years into his San Siro stay.
That’s what Corriere dello Sport are reporting on Wednesday, explaining it’s ‘difficult, for the moment, to snatch him from Milan’, but ‘if their results were to rise, then the reasoning could change very quickly.
As things stand, Bennacer is ‘always willing to stay’, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the thought of winning trophies either in France or England swayed him down the line.