According to reports from London Evening Standard, Arsenal have emerged as the front-runners in the race to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Lars Bender.
The German international has been regarded as one of the Bundesliga’s top midfielders outside of the Bayern Munich squad for some time. He’s been a mainstay in the Bayer starting line-up since 2009 and has represented Die Mannschaft on 19 occasions following his 2011 international debut.
But the 26-year-old is currently enjoying arguably his best form to date for the Bay Arena outfit, averaging 3.7 interceptions, 1.1 created chances and a division-best 4.9 tackles per match from his seven Bundesliga outings.
Injures to Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta have forced Arsene Wenger to consider potential defensive midfield additions ahead of the January transfer window and Bender is one of the names on the Arsenal manager’s shortlist, along with Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho.
But London Evening Standard claim Bender, the twin brother of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven, is currently Wenger’s preferred choice – and that the Gunners are very much the front-runners in the race for his signature.