A fresh frenzy of transfer speculation has been whipped up linking Bayer Leverkusen’s defensive-midfielder Lars Bender with a possible January switch to Arsenal.
However, faced with an injury list stretching from Land’s End to John O Groates already this season, the Gunners can ill-afford to fork out on a player who may well end up joining the masses in the Emirates physio room.
While the twin brother of Borussia Dortmund’s Sven is an undoubted talent, Lars’ frequent visits to the Leverkusen treatment table last season should put Arsene Wenger off the £19m-rated 27-year-old – if the price tag isn’t a big enough deterrent to the skinflint Frenchman already.
Latterly a hamstring injury ruled Bender out from participating in Germany’s glorious World Cup campaign, following problems with calf muscles, hip, heel and knees at various stages of the 2014/15 season.
If Arsenal are to rectify their faltering top-four bid, which can now be backed at 1/2 at bwin, then they should look elsewhere.
Wenger’s obvious craving to bring in German talent to strengthen his team’s core may well lead him to one of these three alternatives, headed by a World Cup star.
Christoph Kramer – Borussia Monchengladbach (on loan at Bayer Leverkusen)
Four years Bender’s junior, the man who went off injured after only half an hour of the
Farmed out on account of Bender’s grip on the Bayer screening spot, the World Cup winner has been mightily impressive on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach where his displays have even caught the attention of Real Madrid.
By far the most sought after of our three picks, Wenger will do well to snaffle up the rangy German now.
Manuel Schmeidebach – Hannover
Hannover’s brilliant start to the season sees them nestled in fourth in the Bundesliga at the international break and Berlin-born Schmeidebach has been instrumental.
A true defensive midfielder, he’s most adept at breaking up play, registering 2.4 interceptions per game according to WhoScored.com.
Mario Vrancic – Paderborn
Paderborn may only be taking their first steps into the big time, but they’ve been anything but tentative ones so far.
The glue in their midfield is 25-year-old Vrancic, who is a shining example of his team’s application which has landed them in ninth after 11 games.