Arsenal are considering a move in signing Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender at the end of the season, according to the Metro.
The report claims the Gunners's boss Arsene Wenger is an admirer of the 24-year-old and has long been eyeing a move in landing him. The north London club are weighing up a bid of £17m in bringing the German international to the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta has seen his form drop this season and has publicly expressed that he is not able to enjoy football. Bender's move to the Emirates would see him take the Spaniard's place in the squad as reports suggest Arteta will be allowed to leave the club in the summer.
The Frenchman sees Bender as a direct replacement for Arteta, who has been struggling to find best form in the current campaign.
The German star has been a key figure in Leverkusen's starting lineup, making 26 appearances in the league this season. He has been an integral part of Bundesliga outfit's midfield in the last few years.
Arsenal made a £15m approach for Bender's services last summer. The Gunners's approach was turned down by Leverkusen. However, this has not stopped Wenger from making another approach for the midfielder's services.
The Emirates club's league rivals Manchester United and Spanish giants Real Madrid are also believed to be interested in signing Bender. However, Arsenal remain confident that they can beat top European clubs in signing Leverkusen's star man.
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager believes Arteta still has a few years left at the top and has hailed him for his winner's attitude. The 32-year-old has featured 28 times in the league this season and has managed two goals in the process.
"He got it back, in fact he looks better now! I like Mikel Arteta because of his quality, his focus, his commitment and his winner's attitude. I have big respect for what he has achieved this season. He is very conscientious, very professional and he has a couple of years left [at the top]," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.