Arsenal are eyeing another move for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, reports suggest.
The same reports further claim that Arsenal failed with an initial bid for Bender last summer but that long-serving boss Arsene Wenger is not giving up on bringing him to the Emirates Stadium and sees him as a long-term replacement for Mikel Arteta.
24-year-old Bender - whose twin brother Sven represents Dortmund - joined Leverkusen from 1860 Munich in 2009 and has gradually become an influential figure in the heart of the midfield at BayArena.
That Arsenal apparently see Bender as an easier signing than compatriot and fellow midfielder Gundogan is certainly no surprise, either.
While other transfer speculation concerning Bender has been virtually non-existent, Gundogan has frequently been linked with a move away from Signal Iduna Park - with Manchester United believed to be well in the race for the £25 million-rated player along with La Liga giants Real Madrid.
Manchester United's interest in the player is not a surprise, with David Moyes widely expected to add a robust new midfielder to his squad at Old Trafford during the summer window.
And while Arsenal would surely face fierce competition from their rivals for Gundogan, you have to presume that a move for Bender could be far easier to negotiate.
However, prising him away for Leverkusen could prove tricky given just how important he is to Sami Hyypia's outfit.
Leverkusen currently lie fourth in the Bundesliga standings - 30 points adrift of leaders Bayern Munich - with Bender having made 21 appearances.
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