Arsenal have just had an £18.5 million bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender rejected but there are several reasons why they should go back with a much bigger offer.
The 24-year-old is currently rated as one of the best defensive central midfielders in Europe and he was touted as the ideal player to fill in at Manchester United at various points last season.
Here are five reasons Arsenal should pay Bayer Leverkusen’s ideal price for the German.
Wilshere and Cazorla
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are the attacking forces which drive the current Arsenal side forward.
The presence of Bender protecting the back four means that Wilshere and Cazorla can get forward and do what they do best, which is apply pressure on the opposition encouraging Arsenal as a team to stay inside the opponent’s final third.
They will have to rely less on their defensive duties because of Bender’s presence in the team when the opposition counter attacks.
Bender was superb in terms of discipline during his Bundesliga appearances last season.
He was booked on just a single occasion which makes him reliable and consistent to Arsene Wenger. It would be no good for the side to go after a player like this, when the chances he’ll miss games through suspension are significantly higher.
Goals and Assists
He scored three goals and provided six assists during Bundesliga games last season.
That suggests that, although he’s predominantly a defensive player, he will provide a small return at the other end of the pitch.
That can only be classed as a benefit for Arsenal because it just means another player and another threat during those spells of pressure over the opposition which Arsenal can use to their advantage.
He made over four tackles per game on average last season which shows he gets stuck in, he breaks up play and he’s not afraid to be aggressive.
That’s significant because teams may look to focus on him as a possible weakness if he comes into the Premier League. Any holding based midfield player has to be very aggressive and effectively stick up for himself in English football.
On average last season he hit two key long balls per game.
That may not sound like a particularly impressive statistic but it’s significant for when Arsenal are looking to counter attack and release the pressure on their own back four.
Arsenal have some superb strikers when it comes to hitting the ball into space or just up front, to be held up while other players come into the game. Bender is a player who can setup either form of counter attack.