Arsenal are having a good time at the moment – both on and off the pitch. On Sunday, the Gunners defeated Chelsea to win the Community Shield, and now they’ve beaten their London rivals off the pitch as well. According to reports from France, Arsenal have signed French teenager Ishael Bennacer, who was also a reported target of Chelsea.
The 17-year-old has rejected the chance to join the Blues, and instead signed a five-year-contract with the Gunners. He joined Arsenal after just one season playing for France’s Ligue 2 side, AC Arles-Avignon, where he made six appearances.
French players usually prefer a move to Arsenal while making their career choices abroad, mainly due to the desire to work with Arsene Wenger. In case of Ishael, it was no exception to that tradition.
The youngster said to L’Equipe that the chance to work with Wenger was vital to his decision to join the Gunners.
“I was a worried in my head about going abroad,” Bennacer told L’Equipe in an interview via Get French Football News. “I have never left home before, I thought about staying in France in order for more game time too. [Arsenal is] the most French of the English clubs.
“He [Wenger] told me that he was happy for me, that he thought I had the potential to succeed here.”
Arles-Avignon president Jean-Jacques Salager confirmed that Bennacer had decided to join Arsenal last week despite offers from Premier League champions Chelsea.
Salager told La Provence last month, via IBTimes: “He had the choice between Chelsea and Arsenal, and contact went well with Arsene Wenger, it seems it is a good choice. It proves he leads with his head despite all that has been offered.”
Arsenal have yet to officially confirm the deal, but judging by the reports, it seems it is only a matter of time before the club officially announce the new signing.