Arsenal are set to beat Manchester City to the signature of promising French starlet Ismael Bennacer after the Gunners trumped their Premier League rivals with a bigger contract offer, according to The Mail.
The France youth international had originally been approached by the Citizens, who offered him a three year deal and the chance to join Patrick Vieira's elite development squad in Manchester. However, Arsenal stepped in to offer the 17-year-old a five-year deal which seems to have proved enough.
Bennacer is expected to agree the deal on offer from Arsene Wenger and sign from Ligue 2 club Arles Avignon where he managed to break into the first team last season. The midfielder made six appearances in France's second division and caught the eye of several Premier League scouts in the process.
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He will become the third French teenager to join Arsenal this summer following the arrival of Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Yassin Fortune from Lens in May. The latter has remained something of an unknown figure, but the former has already made an impression at the Emirates.
Reine-Adelaide has impressed Wenger so much since his arrival in a £1.75m deal that the manager gave him the chance to shine in the recent Emirates Cup against Wolfsburg. The 17-year-old looked mature well beyond his years as he provided the assist for Theo Walcott's goal; the only of the match.
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There is reason to believe that Bennacer is of a similar quality, especially if Wenger has agreed to offer him a five-year deal. Such an offer is rare for a player so young and suggests Arsenal were desperate to bring this talent to north London.
But it may not have been the longer contract on offer that convinced him to reject Manchester City. It could have just as easily been the outstanding track record Wenger has for developing talented youngsters into established stars.
Wenger has always been ready to give youth a chance in his Arsenal squad and has helped the likes of Cesc Fabregas and, more recently, Hector Bellerin fulfil their potential by promoting them to the squad when other managers would not have.
Manchester City, rich with cash from their Middle East owners, are certainly the opposite to Arsenal as they have proven time and again over the last seven years.
Is Arsenal still the best place for youngsters to realise their potential? Give us YOUR thoughts in the comment box below!
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