Arsenal blow as Lars Bender rules out move

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Arsenal's summer transfer plans have suffered a setback after Bayer Leverkusen ace Lars Bender ruled out a switch from the Bundesliga at the end of the season.

The 25-year-old has established himself as one of the most reliable defensive midfielders in Germany in recent seasons, and has been linked with a move away in the past.

Last week reports suggested that Arsenal had made him their top transfer target as they look to add to their squad and maintain a Premier League title challenge for next season.

The Gunners have looked short of a genuine defensive midfielder since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona in 2012, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is said to be eyeing someone to fill that gap when the window opens.

However it looks unlikely that Bender is the man for Arsenal after he confirmed his intentions to remain with Bayer Leverkusen for the foreseeable future having recently committed his future to the club by penning a new deal.

"I signed my new contract until 2019, and that should have told everyone how happy I am at Leverkusen," he said.

'I feel settled here and see no reason to change anything. In fact, if I am to be completely honest, I haven’t had an overly brilliant season and don’t feel ready yet to take on a pivotal role at a big club somewhere else.

‘I need to keep working on my game, and I am going to do that here at Leverkusen. That suits me, and I am happy with that.’

Arsenal already appeared to have lined up a plan B option having been linked with Bayern Munich ace Javi Martinez.

The north London club are also likely to be in the market for a striker in the summer, and were linked with Chelsea target Diego Costa over the weekend.

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