Arsenal dealt blow in chase of Leverkusen star Bender

Lars Bender has stated that he intends to stay at German outfit Bayer Leverkusen, effectively ending any hopes Arsenal had of signing the defensive midfielder, according to The Daily Mail.

Bender was believed to be Gunners boss Arsene Wenger’s top summer transfer target, and was hoping to lure the 25-year-old away from Leverkusen in a bid to shore up the north Londoners’ midfield, but the German international recently laid any plans the Frenchman may have had to rest by declaring his intent to remain with the Bundesliga outfit next season.

Bender implied that he at least wants to make amends for a somewhat underwhelming season in Germany by performing at a higher standard next season, before adding he is himself unsure as to his readiness to take on a potentially key role at another big club.

When questioned about Arsenal’s reported interest, Bender said: “I signed my new contract until 2019, and that should have told everyone how happy I am at Leverkusen.

“I feel settled here and see no reason to change anything. In fact, if I am to be completely honest, I haven’t had an overly brilliant season and don’t feel ready yet to take on a pivotal role at a big club somewhere else.

“I need to keep working on my game, and I am going to do that here at Leverkusen. That suits me, and I am happy with that.”

Arsenal, who recently secured qualification for next season’s Champions League, round off their campaign by travelling to Norwich in the final game of the season on Sunday.

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