Arsenal have reportedly had a £19.7 million turned down for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender. Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of the defensive midfielder and is keen to recruit him at the Emirates but will have to pay in excess of £20 million if he is to get his man.
The Gunners have been handed a £70 million war chest this summer and so making such a bid is not beyond them however £22 million is for Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain while the rest is being used to try and lure Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney of Manchester United to London. Julio Cesar is also an expected arrival but he will cost less than £5 million.
Another factor is Leverkusen’s eagerness to keep hold of their squad players having already lost Andre Schurrle to Chelsea and Dani Carvajal to Real Madrid. The German club remain adamant they have no interest in letting anyone else leave and have warned Arsenal against making another move.
Lars has made a big impact at Bayer Leverkusen becoming an integral part of the side, shielding the back four and even earning international recognition making a total of 14 caps for Germany. He is approaching his peak years and Wenger wants him at Arsenal when he reaches them.
The move comes after Arsenal were put off by Fellaini’s £100,000-a-week wage demands and were keen to explore other options before offering the Belgian the huge salary.
Lars Bender’s twin, Sven, plays for Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund and has also represented the German national team.