Arsenal plotting £18m move for Bayer Leverkusen stalwart Lars Bender

Arsenal are considering the possibility of making an £18m bid for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, the Daily Express report, in a move that could see Mathieu Flamini leave the Emirates.

The Gunners have been monitoring the 26-year-old, and sent scouts to watch his side’s Champions League play-off first leg tie with Lazio, the Express report. While the Bundesliga outfit were narrowly beaten in Italy, it appears that Bender did enough to impress the north London side as a bid now seems imminent.

The Germany international – who missed last year’s victorious World Cup campaign through injury – will battle with Francis Coquelin for a place as the holding midfielder in Arsene Wenger’s side. And with the Frenchman making a shaky start to the new season, it would not be a surprise to see him dropped if Bender was signed.

Bender’s signing would also spell the end of Flamini’s second spell with the Gunners. The Express report that Wenger has already told the 31-year-old that he is free to leave, and the arrival of more competition may speed that process along.

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