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Lars Bender to Arsenal: Three key questions

Lars Bender Germany

Arsenal are reportedly keen on signing the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder in the summer.

Reports are gathering pace that Arsenal will make an offer for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender in the summer.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is set to splash the cash in order to reinforce his squad for next season and will look to Germany to find talented players.

In the light of these reports, here are the three major questions that a potential move for the 25-year-old to North London would raise.

Do Arsenal really need Lars Bender?

Some believe that you can never have too many good players in a team: the more there are, the merrier it is. However, would the arrival of Bender really do much for the Gunners? The Germany international is a well-rounded midfield player who is certainly an asset to any team that he plays for, but the North London outfit do not lack quality in midfield. Having said that, Bender will add more bite in the middle of the park, and his youthful vigour and enthusiasm will be a welcome addition in the dressing room. Bender is no Patrick Vieira, but he can certainly make his presence felt.

The future of Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has just one year left on his current contract and there are growing suggestions that manager Wenger would be willing to let him go. The Spaniard has not had a great season in 2013-14 and the feeling is that he has done all he could for Arsenal since his move from Everton in 2011. Bender is largely seen as a direct replacement for Arteta, whose time at the Emirates Stadium will almost certainly be up if the Germany international arrives in the summer.

Is Bender worth the £20 million transfer fee?

It has been accepted that if Bender were to leave Bayer, then he would do so for a foreign club. That’s because in Germany only Bayern Munich can afford the (reported) £20 million transfer fee that the Bayer would demand. The player himself has given no indication that he is eager to move on, and having a contract that runs until June 2019, he is likely to come at a hefty price. Wenger paid Real Madrid £42.5 million for Mesut Ozil last summer and he could pay almost half that price for Bender. But should he? The Germany international is yet to establish himself as ‘world-class midfielder’ (unlike his compatriot Ozil) and what the Gunners need most for next season is a top-class striker. If clubs realise that Arsenal are willing to pay £20m for a midfielder, then they will demand a lot more for their strikers.

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