The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is preparing a summer bid for the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, Lars Bender. Wenger is said to have been tracking the defensive midfielder for a while and is said to be keen on signing the German. Lars is the twin brother of Sven Bender, who currently plays for Borussia Dortmund. He is known for his tireless work rate and incredible stamina. The German would add steel to an Arsenal midfield that has gone soft in recent years.
Presently, the 24-year old has a contract till 2019 and has made 25 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen this season, scoring 2 goals. Bender has made 225 career appearances with 18 goals to his name. He made his debut for the German national team in September, 2011.
Meanwhile, Arsenal striker Oliver Giroud has declared that Champions League qualification is more important than winning the FA cup. The Gunners are presently in fourth place and have a point over Everton plus a game in hand. They will be hoping to go another three points clear by beating Newcastle on tonight.
‘I think that if we finish fourth, that will be a successful season,’ said the 27-year old forward.
‘And the FA cup, if we win, would be a bonus. I hope for qualification for the Champions league, but also for the FA cup.
‘Will the cup final be the most important match of the season? There are three league matches left that are all as important.
‘They are important, because of fourth place and the Champions league. We have closed the book on the FA cup; we will open it again in May 17.’
Wenger is in the market for at least one new striker and has been linked with Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck and Loic Remy.
Oliver Giroud has also been linked with an exit after a tough season in which he was pictured with a prostitute in a hotel on club duty. AS Roma are rumoured to have an interest but Giroud has stated he wants to stay following talks with Arsene Wenger.