According to the Daily Express, Arsenal are ready to put pressure on Bayer Leverkusen to secure the signing of the highly rated Lars Bender.
The midfielder plays central midfield for Leverkusen and has done so for the club since 2009, making 127 appearances and scoring 13 goals in the process. It is reported by the Daily Express that despite a £15 million bid being turned down last season, Arsene Wenger is very much back in the race to sign the German midfielder, with a bid of around the £21 million mark expected. The Leverkusen manager in the past has made it clear he is not looking to sell the midfielder, but reports in the Daily Express and The Metro claim that the club will be willing to sell if the bid is good enough.
While Arsenal have already turned down former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas, who made a shock return to the Premier League to rival side Chelsea, it appeared that they were not in the market for a central midfielder. Especially with them already boasting the talents of Aaron Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere and Arteta, it seems that Arsenal do not need another player in this position. However, while all of these midfielders are very talented, none of them are holding midfielders, something they have been craving for several seasons now.
According to a majority of English media outlets, Wenger is more interested in securing another center-back to replace soon to be departing Arsenal captain Vermaelen, as well as another striker - believed to be Mario Balotelli - in the coming weeks.
However Arsenal know they are in need of a holding central midfielder. The closest thing they have to one at this moment in time is Flamini, but the ageing midfielder has been struggling with injuries recently.
Lars Bender is a very talented midfielder, who is easily within the price range of the London-based side, with his wages not being an issue either. But with Bender being the main man at Leverkusen, it will take a good bid to persuade Leverkusen to sell their him.
Lars Bender made 29 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, scoring three goals. He will bring a solid base to the Arsenal defense as well, who at times shipped multiple goals in a game. Hopefully, Bender will prevent a space from opening up in front of the center-backs.
Written by Joshua Bean