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‘I got there, I wasn’t feeling it’ – Midfielder reveals reason behind Manchester City snub in favour of Arsenal



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Ismael Bennacer has revealed the reasoning behind a snub of Manchester City earlier on in his career, in favour of now-Premier League rivals Arsenal.

The French-born Algeria international began his career with local side Arles before joining Arsenal’s youth academy in 2015. However, it has now emerged that his pathway to the top of European football could have been very different.

Ismael Bennacer, prior to making the switch to North London from France, was presented with the opportunity to join Manchester City’s esteemed youth academy, residing at the impressive City Football Academy in east Manchester.

Such a move never came to fruition, and ultimately down to requests made by Manchester City over the provision for living granted to the youngster, as revealed by the player himself in a new interview.

Speaking during a new interview with Instant Foot, as relayed by La Gazette du Fennec and translated by Sport Witness, the 25-year-old midfielder has revealed why he turned down the opportunity to join Manchester City prior to his eventual move to Arsenal in 2015.

“(Manchester City) called me and told me, ‘We want you to be with the reserves’ and everything,” Bennacer revealed. “It’s City, man. I was ready. They told me, ‘Come see the facilities’, so I did. I got there, I don’t know, I wasn’t feeling it.”

He continued, “Their facilities were crazy. Amazing. I spoke with (Patrick) Vieira and everything. I liked the talk we had, but the fact they wanted me at the academy, to sleep there… I wanted a flat. I wanted my sister to come with me.

“That’s why I dropped City. Then there was Arsenal towards the end of July.”

Since joining Arsenal and eventually leaving the Gunners, Ismael Bennacer has established himself as one of the finest talents in the midfield game, having progressed from a spell with Empoli to AC Milan in Serie A.

Bennacer’s stay with the Milan club resulted in a Serie A success in the 2021/22 season, whilst international level silverware also came to fruition with Algeria in 2019 as they infamously claimed the Africa Cup of Nations.