Arsenal are planning to reignite their interest in Lars Bender this summer as part of an ambitious £60 million triple transfer swoop, reports suggest.
This information comes courtesy of The Daily Telegraph, who claim that the Gunners are hopeful of deals for Bender, Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and Newcastle full-back Mathieu Debuchy, with Arsene Wenger fully aware of just what positions he needs to strengthen following an eventful 2013/14 campaign that saw the club finally put an end to their embarrassing trophy drought but also botch an initially strong Premier League title push.
Indeed, the same reputable source claims that Arsenal did initially make an offer of approximately £19 million for midfielder Bender last summer, only to see it rejected by a Bayer Leverkusen outfit evidently eager to retain their best players moving forward.
Bender remains a prominent target
It appears that such a rejection has not served to dampen Wenger's enthusiasm over a potential deal for Bender, however, with the Frenchman attempting to lift Arsenal's summer transfer plans into a slightly higher gear following the impressive market exploits of the likes of rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Twin brother of Borussia Dortmund's Sven, Bender has been at the BayArena for four years now, having first joined the Bundesliga contenders from 1860 München back in 2009.
An astute and hard-working midfielder, Bender has also gained deserved international exposure with 17 caps for his native Germany.
Sadly for the impressive 25-year-old, however, he was cruelly denied a role at this summer's World Cup - a competition in which Joachim Low's team look well-positioned to reach the final - after sustaining a thigh problem at Germany's pre-tournament training camp in Italy.
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Indeed, Bender - provided he proves himself capable of returning to full fitness in the long-term - is reportedly seen by Arsenal as a perfect successor to Mike Arteta, with the Spanish midfielder's current contract at the Emirates Stadium due to expire next summer.
While Wenger is perhaps eager to keep Arteta for now due to the obvious experience and composure that he brings to the side, it is unclear if the 32-year-old is in line for a new deal or indeed if he would be content to accept the offer of a one-year deal that seems to have become the norm for players of his vintage.
Sanchez and Debuchy
Arsenal's pursuit of Bender looks the most undeveloped of this apparent triple deal, with the club now believed to have agreed a £32 million fee with Barcelona for the services of Sanchez, with the player having also provisionally agreed financial terms.
Debuchy, meanwhile, looks almost certain to be moving to North London, with the French international right-back - presumably viewed by Wenger as a strong replacement for Manchester City's Bacary Sagna - himself having admitted that he will join Arsenal in time for next season.