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£20m-Rated Midfielder: ‘I’m Not Ready For Arsenal Move’
It looks like we can forget about signing Lars Bender this summer with the midfielder claiming he isn’t interested in leaving Bayer Leverkusen just yet.
Arsene Wenger has been widely tipped to renew his interest in the German international after having an £18m bid rejected by Leverkusen last summer.
Recent newspaper reports have claimed that Arsenal would tempt the Bundesliga club with an improved £20m bid at the end of the season after the boss made Bender his number one target to replace Mikel Arteta at the heart of our midfield.
However, the 25-year-old has played down suggestions he’s could be set for a move to North London, insisting he is happy at Leverkusen and isn’t ready to join a ‘big’ club just yet as he still has plenty of improving to do.
When asked by German newspaper Bild about a potential move to Arsenal, Bender replied:
‘I signed my new contract until 2019, and that should have told everyone how happy I am at Leverkusen.
‘I feel settled here and see no reason to change anything. In fact, if I am to be completely honest, I haven’t had an overly brilliant season and don’t feel ready yet to take on a pivotal role at a big club somewhere else.
‘I need to keep working on my game, and I am going to do that here at Leverkusen. That suits me, and I am happy with that.’ [source: Daily Mail]
While it’s admirable to hear a player admit he needs to improve and he isn’t agitating for a big-money move in search of better wages, it’s disappointing that Bender has seemingly ruled out making a move to Arsenal.
I’m a huge fan of the German’s and think he’d be the ideal replacement for Arteta, but unless things chance over the coming months, it looks like he’s set to stay at Leverkusen.
We can’t afford to wait another year to sign him as we desperately need an athletic defensive midfielder this summer. Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton is another player we’re supposedly keeping an eye on, while Javi Martinez was the latest player to be linked with a move to Arsenal this morning. Either of those two would be more than suitable alternatives to Bender if he’s unavailable.