From England to Spain, France and now Germany, Arsenal’s scour for a top notch defensive midfielder has now taken them to the Bundesliga, with Bayer Leverkusen’s excellent midfielder Lars Bender emerging as a target for the north London club.
The Gunners have been linked with Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak and Paris Saint-Germain’s young midfielder Adrien Rabiot. It was reported Arsenal’s representatives watched Krychowiak against Barcelona in the Super Cup in Tbilisi a couple of weeks back, while PSG’s Rabiot is also understood to be keen on leaving Parc des Princes this season due to lack of game time.
Arsenal have now set their sights on Bender too, should the move for other targets fail to materialise. The Gunners’ reps were in Rome on Tuesday to watch the Leverkusen midfielder in his side’s Champions League tie with Serie A side Lazio.
This is as per Metro who cite Italian publication Tuttomercatoweb that officials from the Gunners watched Bender at the Stadio Olimpico with a view to making a swoop for the player.
The German midfield ace is also one of Arsene Wenger’s long-term target, with reports even suggesting Leverkusen rejected Arsenal’s bid of £18.5 for the player back in 2013, but the player has not made any comments about reports linking him to the Emirates.
Bender, 26, played the full 90 minutes against Lazio but his Bundesliga side narrowly lost 1-0 to the Rome-based club. The Leverkusen star has a twin brother, Sven, who also plays in the BuLi with Borussia Dortmund.
The player would rival Francis Coquelin for a starting berth in front of the back four of the Arsenal defence, should he join, with Mathieu Flamini reportedly told he is not in Wenger’s plans for this season. He will also become Arsenal’s second major arrival this summer, with Petr Cech’s signing being the only piece of incoming transfer business done by Arsenal so far.
Bender has made 205 appearances for Leverkusen for four years, scoring 16 goals.