Raul Garcia Atletico Madrid Bayer Leverkusen Lars Bender
Lars Bender is a January target for ArsenalReuters

Arsenal have been given a boost in their quest to sign a defensive midfielder during the January transfer window, with Bayer Leverkusen admitting they cannot keep their stars if the right offer arrives.

Midfielder Lars Bender has been a long-term target for Arsenal, with the club even seeing a bid turned down by Leverkusen a while back.

With Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla, the two first-choice central midfielders, injured, Arsenal are in dire need of strengthening that position, and Wenger might go for Bender in the January transfer window.

"We try to find talents as early as possible, we try to develop them and then we are going to sell them for a high price," Leverkusen chairman Michael Schade told Goal.

"We as Bayer Leverkusen can't be as arrogant to say that we are creating world stars and they will retire here.

"If we are able to create a world star or international top player, then one day this player wants to play for one of the top [clubs in the world], of course.

"What we can do is develop him and make him as expensive as possible."

While Wenger has shown he is not shy on spending money for the right player, the problem lies in the fact that Bender himself is injured at the moment. The 26-year-old underwent ankle surgery this week and has been ruled out for the rest of the year.

That means he will only be available from January, and with Arsenal already struggling with injuries, the last thing Wenger will want is to sign someone just coming from a long-term problem.

Bender, though, will add experience and solidity to the Arsenal midfield, something that cannot be guaranteed from the other two defensive midfielders that have been linked heavily with Arsenal – William Carvalho and Ruben Neves.

Both of those players are still young and might need a bedding-in period, something Bender, even if he hasn't played in England before, might not require.

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