News reported from Germany today claimed that Arsenal had a €23 million offer for Lars Bender rejected by Bayer Leverkusen.
It's no surprise that Leverkusen did not want to deal for the defensive midfield talent, even despite the substantial offer, for he is a cornerstone of their side.
The club said: "He has a contract until 2017 and he is absolutely happy to stay at Leverkusen."
So time for Arsenal to move on then... Or is that what they have just done already?
For the link with Bender certainly has implications for a midfield star linked with the club, Everton's Marouane Fellaini.
The Belgian is keen to move on from Goodison Park to play Champions League football, and Arsenal are the side said to have made the first move for his signature, now over a fortnight ago.
Talks are claimed to have reached deadlock, with Arsenal said to have backed off at his wage demands to equal their highest earner Theo Walcott on £100,000 a week.
So the attempt to try and sign Lars Bender means one of two things...
a) It is an attempt to put pressure on Fellaini and get them to agree to their terms
Arsenal may well have known there was little chance of securing Lars Bender, with his long-term contract at the club a sign of commitment to them. So the 'attempt' may have been an overt tactic to let Fellaini know that he is not the be all and end all when it comes to their summer targets. Arsenal have been linked with several defensive midfielders, and moving for one shows the Everton man that they are prepared to walk away from a deal at any time.
With other clubs apparently yet to move for Fellaini, he may have to consider lowering his demands if Arsenal are unwilling to match them, or at least that's what they will be hoping for now.
b) They have moved on and are looking at other targets
The other option is that Arsenal really have moved on from Fellaini. Having looked at bringing him in, negotiations had seemingly reached a dead end and it should come as no surprise that the Gunners are looking at other targets.
Bender is a perfect acquisition, and Arsenal had the funds to make the bid they did so it was at least worth an enquiry. With the money at their disposal, Arsenal have plenty of options to choose from and their interest in Fellaini may just be a thing of the past.
Which of the two do you think it is?
image: © nicksarebi