'I want to be part of this story' - £18.5m Arsenal target explains decision after signing new deal

Lars Bender has effectively rejected a move to Arsenal by signing an extension at Bayer Leverkusen until 2019.

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 for a number of years now - 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.

In the summer Arsenal made an £18.5 million bid for the player that was duly rejected by the Bundesliga’s third club - and a bid of £20 million was expected in the January window.

But, as confirmed on the clubs official website, 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 - with sporting director Rudi Voller stating:

‘’The negotiations over a new contract were a reaction to the offers we have received for Lars, and I am delighted that we have secured his services for the foreseeable future.’’

It is certainly a blow to The Gunners, but reading Bender’s comments on the new deal, it seems he would not have been wishing to make a move to The Emirates, considering his apparent feelings toward his current club:

“There has been a very positive development here at Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the past few years. Our team is strong and has the potential to improve even further. I want to be part of that story and make my own contribution to ensuring we can become an obvious and permanent member of the leading group. I am absolutely committed to Bayer 04. I feel really good at this club and it’s great fun playing here.”

He is unfortunately exactly the sort of player that Arsenal could have needed, and with German international team-mates Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski already in North London - hope would have been high that he would be on his way.

But new targets must now be acquired.

Do you think Bender would have been a good signing for The Gunners?

image: © eveos

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch