According to reports, Arsenal is set to make a renewed bid for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender. A fee in the region £21 million has been mooted in the reports.
The club has been on the outlook for a young and dynamic defensive midfielder to lessen the burden on Mikel Arteta. That much was known with the pursuit of the German and Luis Gustavo last summer. Eventually, the club settled for Mathieu Flamini when it couldn’t bring in it first and second choices in that position.
The position of a ball winner in the middle of the park have been an albatross for Arsenal since Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira left. Arsene Wenger has not bought an actual specialist in that position, for several seasons throwing in Denilson and Alex Song into the deep end, when they were not ready. And their lack of discipline in the middle of the park made the club to suffer at the hands of opponents when it was not with the ball.
Mikel Arteta was converted by Arsene Wenger for that position and Mathieu Flamini is seen as just a stop gap as he lacks the required discipline and technique..
However, with the pursuit of Lars Bender, it means the club will be bringing in a player adept in that position, and a player young enough to allow the attacking players like Aaron Ramsey and Mezut Ozil to trot their stuff in the attacking third of the pitch.
Two dynamic players with pace in the middle of the park for Arsenal in Aaron Ramsey and Lars Bender would mean the club will possess two players who can stop the opposition from causing damage from a counter attack.
The 25 year old possesses a great engine, with an uncanny work ethics, and with his ability to cover a lot of ground which Mikel Arteta can no longer do, it means, the attacking players can be unleashed without the famed handbrakes resulting from having to help out the defence.
With his height it would mean that the club will be adding something it has lacked for years. The only player in the present squad with height is Abou Diaby and he is injury prone. With the German, the middle of the park will have a balance it has lacked for several seasons.
With a 77% pass completion rate last season, he can increase on that in a possession based team. He averaged 3.37 tackles per game in the Bundesliga last season in a league known for allowing players to express their technique.
He had an average of 0.70 key passes by game last season. Meaning, he is adept at both getting the defensive side of the midfield sorted, and also to release the ball quickly to the attacking players. Known for his directness he would add some much needed steeliness to Arsenal’s midfield.