Why Newcastle United must beat Arsenal to sign Youssef Ait Bennasser
The Moroccan international, 22, returned from a loan spell at Caen this season and has made 27 appearances for AS Monaco. Youssef Ait Bennasser has been one of the few bright sparks for the relegation-threatened Monaco, who are coached by Thierry Henry.
With Aaron Ramsey set to leave, it is possible that Arsenal boss Unai Emery views Youssef Ait Bennasser as the suitable replacement. The Gunners’ need for a defender is way more than that of a midfielder at the moment, with the likes of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Mohamed Elneny currently in Emery’s books.
As a player in the mould of Bennasser isn’t a priority for Arsenal, Newcastle United must try luring the Moroccan away to St James’ Park this month.
Rafael Benitez needs to devise a plan to dig Newcastle United out of relegation trouble. He may have guided Newcastle to the fourth round of the FA Cup, but the Premier League has to be the priority and the Spaniard should try bringing at least a few players in January.
Given the shoestring budget with which Benitez has been operating since joining the Magpies, he needs to invest smartly on players. Apart from signing a No.10, one area the Newcastle boss should aim strengthening is his midfield department.
With Jonjo Shelvey not having the best of seasons, Mohamed Diame is no more the player he once was and Isaac Hayden keen to leave the club, signing a midfielder in this transfer window would make sense for Benitez. And the Magpies would do a wonderful job if they manage to land Youssef Ait Bennasser from Monaco.
Bennasser is renowned for his energy, tenacity, technique and defensive work rate in the middle of the park. He is excellent at retaining possession and also excels in dribbling and closing down the opposition by pressing higher up the pitch.
The Morocco international is adept at breaking up the play and initiating attacks from the deep with his exquisite passing range. Bennasser’s intelligence and range of passing could make him a valuable player to have behind centre-forward Salomon Rondon, although that isn’t his natural position.
Newcastle are currently at 18th place in the league table and are in for a relegation battle. Their disastrous start to the season has led to this problematic situation and they could do very well with a player like Bennasser to hold the midfield together.