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Transfer Truth: The Truth on Bender to Arsenal

Posted on Jul 3rd, 2013 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh

Reports are flying around that Arsenal are in hot pursuit of promising Leverkusen central midfielder Lars Bender as their interest in Fellaini appears to have hit a stumbling block.

Bender: Transfer Truth: 25%
It's a considered almost a fact that Arsenal have bee chasing the sizeable afro and talents of Marouane Fellaini for some time now in order to fill the even more sizeable hole left in the spine of the midfield when Viera and co departed all those years ago. This may be a little unkind to Wilshere and Arteta. The Spaniard's stats made him one of the best rated defensive midfielders in the league last season, but with one ageing and the other injury prone it's completely understandable that Arsenal might bee seeking reinforcements in that area of the pitch.

Having said that only evidence we could find that The Gunners had made and had two bids rejected for the German international, with the last one being nearly £20m, seem to originate from German news paper Expresse. They also state that the CEO of the German club simply stated "not for sale" when questioned about Bender and refused to be drawn in to any further discussions on the matter. The same kind of response that initially came from Leverkusen when Chelsea made enquiries about Schurrle!

Respected football journalist and expert on the Bundesliga Raphael Honigstein has tweeted on the topic of Bender's move:


He confirms that Expresse are highly regarded and that their categoric reporting of the "not for sale" statement is serious. At least serious enough to push any possible bid very close to or over what would be required to sign Fellaini, who is already proven at Premier League level.

A report on Sky Sports recently quoted an unnamed representative of the German club to have said the following:

It's absolutely normal that there has been interest in him because he is a top-level player who is improving. But he has a contract until 2017 and he is absolutely happy to stay at Leverkusen.

It's hard to take much substance from unnamed sources, even though they can regularly be quite reliable. What we can conclude though is that Bender does have 4 years on his contract and with Leverkusen having already sold Schurrle to Chelsea in this window they won't be strapped for cash or in any other way inclined to sell another one of their key assets, especially when they can offer him Champions League football and the promise regular first team action.

In any case if the bid is getting close to £20m and not being accepted you would have to assume that Arsenal would switch their focus back on to Fellaini.

Our Truth-o-meter
The logic of this particular transfer appears to be drawn on two assumption. Firstly that Arsenal do not want to pay Fellaini the wages Fellaini is speculated to want but also that Arsenal are in hot pursuit of Bender on the basis of the orignal report appearing in German publication Expresse.

We can see some sense in both, but have only suggestive evidence to imply that Arsenal have made previous bids and had them rejected. Leverkusen's sale of two key players already means it is likely to take a huge bid to prise Bender away from them so this does seriously diminish the chances of a move, especially when better players might be available for that sort of money. For those reasons we are giving this transfer a truth rating of 25%, and a 20% chance that it is Arsenal in specific that Bender could end up at. Wenger is known for being stubborn so if he has already made these bids he may continue his hunt, which is why we are not dismissing this one out of hand.

Likeliness of Signing: 20%
Fit at Club: 75%

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