The German international has established himself as one of the most reliable defensive midfielders in Germany. The 25 year old has been on Wenger’s radar for some time now and was strongly linked with a move last summer when we reportedly failed with an £18.5 million bid.
However, the midfielder has played down suggestions that he is set to make a move to North London, by insisting he is happy at Leverkusen and isn’t ready to join a big club just yet as he still has plenty of improving to do.
According to Daily Mail, he said:
I signed my new contract until 2019, and that should have told everyone how happy I am at Leverkusen.
I feel settled here and see no reason to change anything. In fact, if I am to be completely honest, I haven’t had an overly brilliant season and don’t feel ready yet to take on a pivotal role at a big club somewhere else.
I need to keep working on my game, and I am going to do that here at Leverkusen. That suits me, and I am happy with that.
Bender is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Europe and seems to be ready for the step up to the next level. He has high work rate, can dictate the game from deep midfield areas and also can stop opponent attacks with his timely interceptions and well judged tackles. He is a honest professional, someone who works hard to stamp his authority in games and can be trusted with responsibility.
The Gunners midfield has often favoured beautiful style over grit and although Flamini and Arteta performed well throughout the season, the north London club lack a player whose natural game combines mobility, tackling and the ability to break up play before moving forward. Bender is more than capable of adding steel to an otherwise lightweight centre, without compromising the way Arsenal play in the final third.
He could have been an ideal replacement for Arteta, if not an improvement. However, it seems Arsenal will have to look elsewhere as Bender’s comments indicate he feels a sense of unfinished business in Leverkusen after the German club’s midseason meltdown. Should Arsenal ignore Bender’s comments and launch a bid for his services, then Leverkusen will be looking for around £20 million.
Can we sign him in the summer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.