How Arsenal's bid for Bundesliga star could depend on Barcelona's plans - report

Lars Bender

Arsenal are understood to be eyeing Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, but their bid could be scuppered by Barcelona.

While Arsenal have reportedly started contacts which it’s hoped will bring them Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender next summer, their chances of signing the German international could be linked to Barcelona’s transfer dealings.

A hard-working and intelligent defensive midfielder, Arsenal were understood to have had a £19 million bid for Bender turned down last summer, with Leverkusen later extending his current contract with the club until 2019.

Nevertheless, he is said to remain high on the club’s wish list, with Arsene Wenger having earmarked him as a long-term replacement for club captain Mikel Arteta.

However, Catalan newspaper Sport claims that Barca could rival the Gunners for the 25-year-old should the La Liga giants fail in their bid to lure Atletico Madrid’s highly-rated Koke to the Nou Camp.

While the club’s current transfer ban extends into 2016, a new appeal is set to be heard on December 1 which management is confident will lead to it being reduced to one window, leaving them free to delve back into the market come the summer.

Arsenal are reported to have enquired about Bender’s situation in recent weeks, with a price tag of between €25 million and €30 million quoted, but it’s unclear if Leverkusen would be willing sellers in around six months’ time.

The Bundesliga club are sitting sixth in the table at present, and missing out on Champions League football could force their hand, though whether Arsenal would then face competition from Barca to sign the 17-times capped stalwart remains to be seen.

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