Arsenal are planning an approach for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender. The Mail Online believes the German international could be available for £15m this summer and Arsene Wenger will hope the 24-year-old can add depth and quality to the Gunners\' options in that position, as well as give creative players like Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere more of a license to move forward and join the attack.
Wenger will be aware that he has yet to replace Cameroon international Alex Song, since his departure for Barcelona last summer. The defensive midfielder was key to the way the Emirates side retained possession and built goal scoring opportunities.
The idea was to have French international Abou Diaby fill that role but given he is almost perennially injured the responsibility fell to former Everton man Arteta. The Spaniard has adapted well to that role but has admitted he prefers a position further forward. Bender could allow him to do just that and also afford Wenger the luxury of using Arteta to rest Wilshere, who is otherwise overworked.
However, a move for the German could alert Premier League champions Manchester United and cross-town rivals Manchester City, both of whom, according to talkSPORT, have an interest in the player.
Bender has made 32 starts in the Bundesliga this season and 41 appearances across all competitions, with three goals and seven assists to his name.
Arsenal have a reported £70m summer budget and have been linked to a host of big name signings, particularly in the striker\'s position. Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain and Fiorentina\'s Stevan Jovetic are the most strongly linked, with the former having confirmed he will leave the Santiago Bernabeu before next season. A deal for Auxerre striker Yaya Sanogo is also believed to be close to completion.
Could Cesc Fabregas Return?
Meanwhile, the future of Barcelona star Cesc Fabregas remains uncertain. The Mail Online believes the Spain international is expected to meet Nou Camp manager Tito Vilanova soon and discuss his future before announcing his next move.
It is understood the Spanish international is upset over the signing of Brazil international Neymar, who will only add to the already intense competition for places in the Spanish champions\' forward lines. The 26-year-old Fabregas has had a good season with his hometown club despite not being a regular starter, scoring 10 times and creating 11 goals in 31 La Liga appearances.
Fabregas\' situation has alerted the Premier League\'s top clubs with both Manchester clubs joining Chelsea and Arsene Wenger in the race to bring the midfielder back to England.