With this season slowly winding to a close, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears to already be planning for next season as reports claim the French man is back in the hunt for German midfield enforcer, Lars Bender. Wenger tried to sign Bender last summer but a £19m bid was roundly turned down by Bayer Leverkusen.
Sami Mokbel of The Mail believe Wenger is still very impressed with Bender and will this summer try again to sign the player. Mikel Arteta has been playing in that defensive role behind the back four this season but the Spaniard who turns 32 at the end of this season isn’t getting any younger. Lars Bender is seen by Wenger and his team of coaches as the perfect replacement for the midfielder.
The 24-year-old German has been in good form this season and is seen by many as one of the best box to box midfielder in Europe. Arsenal’s midfield is packed full of creative minds but lack the steel and cover that Bender offers. Bender just extended his contract with Bayer Leverkusen till 2019 and so to force a transfer could be difficult unless Bayer Leverkusen fails to make the Champions league next season.
If Leverkusen fail to qualify for the Champions League, then they might be forced to sell their prized asset. This for me is all good news, Lars Bender is a player I have admired for a long time. He is just probably at par with or a step behind Arturo Vidal who I consider to be the best defensive midfielder in the world.
Arsenal frailty in midfield has been exposed again this season and bringing in Bender could make us serious title contenders next season. Lars Bender should bed in well at Arsenal and the chance to play along side German international teammate Mesut Ozil could sway this talented midfield work engine to make the switch.