Arsenal ready to break transfer record to sign Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s 24 year-old defensive midfielder.
Arsenal have made a €23 million offer (approximately £19.7m) for Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s defensive midfielder Lars Bender as the bid to reinforce the playing squad at Emirates Stadium continues.
German publication Express report that the Gunners’ proposal was categorically refused by Bayer Leverkusen general manager Wolfgang Holzhauser, who is far from keen to lose one of his team’s best players.
The Bundesliga giants have already lost wide forward Andre Schurrle to Chelsea, and Bender is their next most valuable asset.
Guardian journalist Raphael Honigstein was not optimistic about the transfer going ahead.
Express is a v. well informed paper. They say Leverkusen’s no is categorical, not a question of valuation/negotiation. Tend to believe them
— raphael honigstein (@honigstein) July 1, 2013
The 24 year-old Bender has 14 caps and four goals for the full Germany international side, and his experience and nous at the highest level would undoubtedly be a positive asset for Arsenal – should they convince Bayer Leverkusen to sell, and the player to move to the Premier League.
Bender could be the orthodox defensive midfielder the Gunners midfield has been crying out for, and his capability at right back and on the flank would make him a valuable option should boss Arsene Wenger elect for a tactical switch.
Anchoring the midfield is his best role however, and his tackling is highly impressive.
He averaged over four tackles per match in the Bundesliga last season, and in the UEFA Europa League, he incredibly managed over 6 each game.
Bender is a highly disciplined player who keeps position well, and offers great protection to the defence.
On his occasional bursts forward, he shows his decent technique and footballing brain, and scored three goals and provided six assists in his team’s league campaign.
It is as yet unclear whether Arsenal are planning to go back with a higher bid, but if Lars Bender – who returns to training today after holiday – informs Bayer Leverkusen that he would like to leave, the Bundesliga club would likely be more open to a sale.
The transfer would comfortably break the Gunners’ transfer record, and with Gonzalo Higuain also widely thought to be set for an Emirates Stadium transfer, there are real signs of ambition at the north London club.