Manchester City are preparing for the possibility of missing out on Paul Pogba, by plotting a bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s holding midfielder Lars Bender.
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According to the Daily Mirror, the Juventus man is their main target, however, they believe he may decide to stay with the Serie A champions for another year so he can complete a move to Barcelona – the team that denied his side winning the treble in the Champions League final – when their transfer embargo is lifted.
Should that be the case, Manuel Pellegrini is hoping that the 26-year-old may be able to make up for the disappointment of missing out on arguably Europe’s best box to box midfielder.
He would certainly cost a lot less than Pogba, with the Mirror reporting that while the Juve man may command bids of around £70m this summer, Bender could be available for £25m.
The Mirror suggest that they may have to compete with Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal for his signature, as both clubs have watched him extensively in the past.
However, the Daily Mail reported yesterday that the Gunners were not keen on paying £25m for Morgan Schneiderlin – who is a very similar kind of player, for the same fee – as Arsene Wenger does not believe that the squad needs extensive strengthening, meaning it could be a two-horse race between the red and blue halves of Manchester.