Arsenal have been dealt an early blow ahead of the opening of the January transfer window. One of the clubs major targets, Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, has put pen to paper on a new improved deal at the BayArena.
The German international has reportedly been a long-term target of Arsene Wenger’s - and there were plenty of rumours that the club could go back in for him this January, as a long-term solution to the holding midfield role.
But, as confirmed this week, he has now signed a massively extended deal that will keep him at the club until 2019.
It seems the offers from Arsenal, and apparent interest from other parties, has hastened the reward of a new deal.
It is certainly a blow to The Gunners, but Bender made it clear that he is happy to stay at Bayer, saying he wants to ‘be part of the story’ at the BayArena.
An inspired performance from the home teams Iranian goalkeeper Daniel Davari and a late goal from Dominick Kumbela
Bender was one of the stars rested, but was brought on along with Stefan Kiessling and Sidney Sam as it became clear that Leverkusen were struggling.
But Bender must not like coming in cold. He managed to get booked twice in his 45 minute pursuit of glory - and get sent off just a few days after signing a monumental six-year- deal - as bottom side Braunschweig earned a famous scalp.
Here are the highlights from the game…
image: © eveos