Arsenal have made Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender their number one transfer target for the summer and are lining up a £20million move for the German,as reports the Daily Mirror.
Arsene Wenger was keen on the tough-tackling midfielder last season only to find the Bundesliga outfit unwilling to deal, but has identified the centre of midfield as a problem area of his team and is hoping to find Leverkusen more open to a transfer after a disappointing season.
Mikel Arteta’s future at Arsenal has become uncertain in recent weeks after it was suggested no extension was being prepared to his contract that has just one year left to run and Wenger has been scouting alternatives to the 32-year-old in the holding role of midfield.
Wenger is believed to want any anchorman in his midfield to be a ball-playing deep-lying playmaker as opposed to any typical enforcer and the Gunners boss has identified Bender as his ideal candidate, especially after Ilkay Gundogan signed a new deal to remain at Borussia Dortmund.
Bender is believed to be more open to a move in order to progress his career and Wenger is hoping the large German contingent already at the club could convince him to make the move to London and boost their title challenge for next season.