The growing German contingent at Arsenal could be about to swell further amid reports that Arsene Wenger is weighing up moves for a trio of Bundesliga stars when the transfer window reopens.
Borussia Dortmund pair Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus are thought to be high on the Frenchman’s wanted list, as is Bayer Leverkusen enforcer Lars Bender.
The Emirates accounting team have just finished perspiring over the massive outlay paid to land Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on deadline day, but they should be bracing themselves for chunks to be blown from the club’s well-lined bank account once more.
The £42.5m required to snare Ozil was only half of what Gunners’ chief executive Ivan Gazidis said Wenger’s transfer war chest would be this summer and he could be looking to bolster his ranks further in January.
Of these three players, the one he needs most urgently is, unquestionably, Bender.
Despite the blockbuster signing of Ozil, Arsenal failed to plug many of the holes in their squad and a solid holding midfield man is one of their requirements.
Bender possesses all the key attributes desired in such a player, while he is also blessed with technical prowess that Wenger values so highly. He would be the perfect partner for either Jack Wilshere or in-form Aaron Ramsey in the centre of the Gunners’ midfield, with Ozil operating in a slightly more advanced berth.
At present, Wilshere and Ramsey are sharing the anchoring responsibilities, but this doesn’t suit their games too well, while Mikel Arteta plugged the gap last term despite being a more creative player himself.
Clearly, if the club are going to compete for honours in the short term, a fully functioning engine room is vital and Bender’s acquisition would prove the missing piece of the puzzle for the north Londoners.
As it stands, Ladbrokes have Arsenal chalked up at 14/1 to win their first Premier League title since 2003/04, while they’re 17/20 to bag a top-four finish this term.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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