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Barcelona Could Beat Arsenal To Crucial January Target As Defensive Midfielder Search Goes On

Barca could move in on Gunners’ move for Lars Bender.

Arsenal could be set to miss out on their prime defensive midfield target for the January transfer window, report the Express, with La Liga giants Barcelona set to move in on their deal for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder and German international Lars Bender.

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It is widely believed that Arsenal desperately need a defensive midfield replacement for Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini in January after the experienced duo have struggled to protect a makeshift defence so far this season, with Arsene Wenger seemingly identifying Bender as the man who he wants to bring to the Emirates Stadium.

Barcelona, however, are currently undergoing a serious rebuilding job under new manager Luis Enrique, who arrived from Celta Vigo this summer, and are having to prepare for life without experienced playmaker Xavi Hernandez, who has been a mainstay of the Barca side for more than a decade.

Whilst Bender is far from a direct replacement for Xavi, signing him would be the latest indication of a slight shift in style in Catalonia towards a more direct, quicker style – with Bender potentially joining Sergio Busquets in midfield to allow Enrique to protect his defence slightly more than it has been in the past under Pep Guardiola and Tata Martino.

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