Lars Bender

Arsenal are set to battle it out with Manchester United for the signing of Bayern Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, but the Bundesliga outfit remain unwilling to sell, according to the Daily Star.

The German midfielder has been a long term target for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, although Manchester United have become contenders with David Moyes under increasing pressure to spend big in January.

Wenger reportedly saw a bid of £18.5million rejected for the 24-year-old in the summer, and while the Gunners remain favourites to secure his signature, Manchester United have also made themselves candidates.

David Moyes has overseen an awful start to the season which has seen United take just seven points from a possible 18, and the former Everton boss recently admitted he may need up to four world class players to make United candidates on all fronts – with Bender certainly fitting the bill.

But the Premier League rivals have both been dealt a blow by the fact Leverkusen have come out and said they have no intention of selling one of their prized assets just yet.

General manager Michael Reschke revealed the club have no plans to let the 24-year-old leave the Bundesliga, saying: “We have no intention to sell Lars.”

The talented midfielder is contracted to Leverkusen until 2017, although bookies reckon his chances of joining Arsenal in January are just 6/1. Bayern Munich are at 20/1, while Manchester United are rated at 50/1.

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