Manchester City set to sign Arsenal long time target Lars Bender. [Picture: Ina Fassbender/REUTERS]
Manchester City have identified German enforcer Lars Bender as an alternative to Paul Pogba if they fail to land the French midfielder.
Pogba, 22, is City’s top target this summer and the Blues are prepared to go all the way for the Juventus star in a bidding war with several of Europe’s top clubs which could hit £70million.
But the Etihad hierarchy are aware of suggestions that Pogba may stay in Turin for another year so that he can get a dream move to Barcelona once the Catalan club’s transfer ban has been lifted.
And that has prompted City to look at Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Bender. The 26-year-old has attracted interest from both Arsenal and Manchester United in recent years.
Bender has been a long time target for Wenger, with the Gunner’s boss reportedly failing to land the midfield enforcer’s signature in the last couple of transfer windows.
In January, Germany and Liverpool star Dietmar Hamman urged Arsenal to return for the midfielder to solve the Gunner’s defensive midfield woes.
“Arsenal are a fantastic team, with some of the most exciting attacking players in the Premier League” Hamman said, per the Mirror.
“For me, Arsenal would be much better served, going for one of the Bender brothers, especially Lars.”
“Either one of those boys would give Wenger something he hasn’t got in midfield. Someone who can read the game, is naturally defensive minded and who will thrive operating in front of the back four, making sure Arsenal don’t’ get exposed.”
Arsenal could lose out on his signing as City are desperately in need of either of Pogba or Bender, with reports suggesting that the £25million price tag slammed on Bender’s head would tempt the Blues to move for the German instead.