Arsenal are reportedly considering preparing a summer move for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, according to reports in Metro.
The 24 year old has been hugely impressive in the Bundesliga with Leverkusen in recent years and was on the Gunners radar last summer, but has recently signed a new contract with the German outfit.
The report states that the Gunners, who will have a £70 million transfer budget this summer, have been tracking Bender for years, with Arsene Wenger known to be a huge fan. Arsenal reportedly failed with a £15 million bid last summer, with Leverkusen desperate to keep the player, but reports in Germany say a new bid is forthcoming.
It further states that Wenger is willing to part with up to £17 million for the German, who is seen as a direct replacement for Arteta, who has looked a little off the pace this term.
The Spaniard has filled the defensive midfield role very intelligently in the last 2 seasons, though his age is starting to catch up with him. He offers excellent shielding of the ball and calm passing from the back, and his positioning is generally excellent. However, more free-spirited midfielders like Jack Wilshere tend to leave him exposed, which has been the main drawback for the Gunners against big teams this season.
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Lars Bender is a versatile player who can play in multiple positions even at right back if needed. He initially made his name as a holding midfielder, but has since added several new layers to his game. He has a high work rate which is an essential attribute for any player in the English league and can dictate the game from deep midfield areas while also can stop opponent attacks with his timely interceptions and well judged tackles.
He’s predominantly a defensive player, but can also provide a great return at the other end of the pitch, which is a great asset to have. His tackling technique is unique and not only does he tackle with tremendous power, but the accuracy and timing is always immaculate and consequently it’s very rare that he picks up a yellow card – picking up just one last season.
His high work rate will give the likes of Cazorla and Ozil the freedom to really make the most of their talents. He has been on our radar for a long time and I feel this summer is the right time to snap him up as we have enough resources this time around.
Is Bender an improvement on Arteta? Share your thoughts in the comments below.