French teenager Ishael Bennacer has confirmed he has signed a five-year contract with Arsenal after rejecting the chance to join Chelsea, despite being offered more money by the Premier League champions.
The 17 year old joins the Arsenal ranks after just one season playing for AC Arles-Avignon in France's Ligue 2, where he made six appearances for the first team last season.
Speaking to L'Equipe, the attacking midfielder said the chance to work with Arsene Wenger was vital to his decision to pick the Gunners, having been told by the manager that he has the potential to succeed in north London.
"I was a worried in my head about going abroad," Bennacer told L'Equipe in an interview translated by 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."
On asked about getting lost among the club's raft of young players all looking to impress the manager, he added: "It is up me to prove myself, they gave me a five-year contract so they must have confidence in me."
Although Arsenal are yet to officially confirm the move, Arles-Avignon president Jean-Jacques Salager confirmed that Bennacer had decided to join Arsenal last week, despite Chelsea offering the player greater financial incentives in their attempts to lure him to Stamford Bridge.
Salager told La Provence (reported in French) on Wednesday 29 July: "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."
Bennacer is expected to join Arsenal's youth ranks, where a number of young hopefuls have recently penned deals. The most notable of these is fellow Frenchman Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who provided a glimpse of his flittering promise during the club's Emirates Cup campaign.