Arsenal prepare late £18m move for much-needed defensive midfielder

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Arsenal are ready to make a late transfer window move for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, according to the Sunday People.

Arsene Wenger does not possess a great many defensive midfield options and those he does possess are either lacking a good run of top-level experience, Francis Coquelin for example, suffering with regular injury concerns (Mikel Arteta), or far too one-dimensional and a long way past their best (Mathieu Flamini).

26-year-old German international Lars Bender saw his side slump to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Lazio in their Champions League qualifier first-leg last week, and as such, the midfielder is now cup-tied from involvement in the competition for another club.

However, this doesn’t appear to have lessened Wenger’s interest, with the Sunday People claiming Arsenal could make an £18m bid for the player.

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BayArena manager Roger Schmidt would be loath to lose his captain, and the fact that Bayer Leverkusen have started the season with two wins from two could help persuade Lars Bender to turn down a potential move to the Emirates Stadium,  even though a move to the North London club would see the tough tackler team up with national team colleagues Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker.

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