Perhaps seen as one of those who got away, Ismaël Bennacer is now a star at AC Milan, but could have been that at Arsenal.

The Gunners bought him from Arles-Avignon in France, and allowed him to grow in their academy, with the odd first-team appearance here and there, before eventually selling him to Empoli.

Leaving Arsenal, according to the player himself, as explained in an interview with AC Milan’s official website, relayed by Radio Rossonera, wasn’t easy, though.

Revealing that he initially ‘didn’t want to leave’ France to go to England, he did so because he needed ‘an education’, which the Gunners would offer him.

He said: “I had it at Arles, but at Arsenal, it was different. One of the best youth sectors in Europe… It was a very, very good experience. In Arles, where I live, it’s a small neighbourhood and there’s nothing: in London, on the other hand, there was everything.”

Then came the decision to leave Arsenal and go to Empoli, which he labels as the ‘most dangerous choice’ of his career to date.

However, just like on the pitch, he is someone who ‘likes to take risks’, and he also wanted to play regularly, which the Italian side were ready to allow.

He added: “It was a tough decision, but when you have the confidence to work well and put the patience into it, in the end you are rewarded. I think I was rewarded in the end.”