Arsenal have been handed a transfer boost after Bayern Leverkusen chairman Michael Schade admitted that the club's top stars will be allowed to leave for the right price. The Gunners have been on the trail of midfielder Lars Bender in recent seasons and will be encouraged to make their interest more concrete in the coming months.
Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of the German, who plays as a defensive midfielder for the Bundesliga team. The French manager will be keen to add an experienced and proven player to the defensive ranks and provide cover or challenge Francis Coquelin for the starting role. Moreover, Arsenal are facing a major injury crisis and are currently without five first-team midfielders, including the Frenchman, who has been ruled out for three months with a medial ligament injury.
The chairman, Schade, has conceded that the players at the club will want to play for one of the top clubs around the world and he has made it clear that the Bundesliga side will not stand in their way if a satisfactory offer arrives. There are a number of youngsters at the club, who have attracted interest, but will only be allowed to leave if the interested side matches Leverkusen's valuation.
"We try to find talents as early as possible, we try to develop them and then we are going to sell them for a high price," Schade said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"We as Bayer Leverkusen can't be as arrogant to say that we are creating world stars and they will retire here. If we are able to create a world star or international top player, then one day this player wants to play for one of the top [clubs in the world], of course. What we can do is develop him and make him as expensive as possible," he explained.
Bender's chances of moving to Arsenal in January look slim after the midfielder underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday (1 December) and has been ruled out until the New Year. It will be a gamble on Wenger's part to take a punt on a player who has not played since late October and will not be back to full fitness at least until February due to the surgery.
"Lars Bender has successfully undergone surgery on his right ankle in a hospital in Basel on Tuesday. The Leverkusen captain will remain in Switzerland for a week and then start his recovery in Leverkusen," A club statement read on Leverkusen's official site.
"An operation had become necessary due to his ongoing problems. Bender will be unavailable for the remainder of 2015," the statement added.