Its surprising, but its true! Reports from German claim that Bayer Leverkusen have rejected Arsenal’s €23 million bid for defensive midfielder Lars Bender. It really is astonishing to even think that the Gunners have tabled such an amount despite going after another €20m plus (Higuain) signing. However, the German club have no intention in selling the highly rated youngster as he is one of the central figure in the squad.
The German club has said: “He has a contract until 2017 and he is absolutely happy to stay at Leverkusen.”
The two players on Arsenal’s radar at the moment are Marouane Fellaini of Everton and Lars Bender. It may be a difficult choice for Wenger to zero in one of the players as both them are extremely talented and can have an immense impact on the squad. So let’s take a look at some of their statistics from the previous season and try to pinpoint on any of the targets that Wenger should go after.
In the beginning we should mention that while Fellaini is more of an attacking option, Bender plays his role in the defensive side of the midfield with extreme earnestness and is not known for his attacking abilities. Thus while Fellaini has scored 11 goals from 31 matches last season, Bender has managed to put his name on the scoresheet thrice from two more matches he has played in the league. This fact is again highlighted by the average shot accuracy of Fellaini, which is 60% compares to Bender’s 42%.
Both the players are decent passers of the ball and can boast of an average pass accuracy of 79%. But Bender’s defensive acumen is highlighted by the fact that he has won 62% of the average duels which Fellaini can brag about only 55%. (This again shows Fellaini’s role as an attacking mid last season)
But the temperamental problem of Fellaini can be felt when we see that he has received nine yellow cards in the same time when Bender received just one.
Albeit, if you look at this from a neutral perspective, one major point tends to be on Fellaini’s side as he is a Premier League proven material.
So, if Arsenal had really made a bid for the midfielder, what are the chances of an increased bid from the Gunners? It really looks slim as Arsenal’s priority should turn back to Fellaini who comes in with almost the same price tag. If Leverkusen are really prepared to sell their star, they would have accepted such an offer and we honestly think the Germans will retain Bender until at-least the end of next season.
It has already been reported that Arsenal have triggered the release clause of the Belgian and if the rumoured £100,000-a-week wages are agreed, you can very well expect Fellaini to don the Arsenal colors next season.