Many pundits and journalists have said that if Arsenal are to win the Premier League this season, they need a holding midfielder. Mikel Arteta is not getting any younger and it is common opinion that a more physical presence is required.
While Arteta is still capable of doing a job, arguably he will not be able to cope with 45 games in a season, his recent injury against Besiktas is testament to this. Also, the Spaniard's lack of pace means a box-to-box player like Aaron Ramsey is needed to cover him. Arsenal have been linked with several names this summer, including Sami Khedira of Real Madrid and Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho - but they should sign Lars Bender instead.
Lars Bender would be the ideal player for Arsenal, he already performs a box-to-box role to cover Simon Rolfes at Bayer Leverkusen. Furthermore, Bender has shown he is more than capable of playing as a deep midfielder, with a strong physical presence and good reading of the game. This means that Arsenal could rest Aaron Ramsey or Mikel Arteta safe in the knowledge that they would be suitably replaced.
Bender is only 25-years-old, so he has plenty of time to become even better. In the long term, he could go on to form a formidable midfield pair with Ramsey, either as a deep midfielder, or as a box to box player where him and Ramsey alternate who attacks and who defends.
Lars Bender averaged just 77% passing accuracy last season in the Bundesliga, so he might require a small amount of time to adjust to Arsenal's style of pass and move football.
What separates Bender from the other names linked to Arsenal is his capacity to perform more than one role in the team, and this is why he is the ideal player, both for now, and the next five years or more. Arsene Wenger has placed bids in the past, so he may still be interested and he should waste no time doing what it takes to snap him up.
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