Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen have left the door wide open for star midfielder Lars Bender to exit to a more prominent club, with Arsenal touted as potential destination (via Telegraph).
The clubs chairman claimed his side can do little to stand in the way of their top talents seeking elite football, and Leverkusen may have an issue holding on to Bender amongst continued interest from Arsenal.
The 26-year-old has been continually linked with a move to north London, with Arsene Wenger keen to strengthen his midfield with injuries to the engine room thinning the squad in what is an exciting year for the club.
The Telegraph claims Bayer Leverkusen have softened their stance over any potential exit of star players, the club previously standing firm with previous Bender discussions. Chairman Michael Schade stated: “Bayer Leverkusen can’t be as arrogant to say that we are creating world stars and they will retire here.
“If we are able to create a world star or top player, then one day this player wants to play for one of the top [clubs in the world], of course.”
Although not directly identifying the midfielder, Bender has been one of the most courted Leverkusen stars for some time by a number of Premier League clubs.
Wenger recently acquired Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel, however he has been identified as a defensive midfielder with attacking attributes meaning he can either play alongside a dedicated holding midfielder in a box-to-box role or as the sole defensive midfielder.
There is certainly room for Bender in this Arsenal squad in the future, but there is little sense in making a move now when Wenger will look to utilize club captain Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini as backup options – both are likely to move on this summer however. Not to mention Bender’s determination to play regular football to ensure he makes the Germany squad for Euro 2016.
With 11 days left of the January transfer window there is a possibility this could happen, but a summer move just seems much more sensible.