Arsenal will be forced to step up their chase for Bayer Leverkusen star Lars Bender after it is believed that Barcelona are preparing a bid to lure him to the La Liga, Express reports.
With Arsene Wenger looking likely to miss out on Real Madrid anchorman Sami Khedira, he has now turned his attentions to the £19million rated German ace.
The 25-year-old is highly rated in the Bundesliga for his qualities as a defensive midfielder, a position that the Gunners boss has been keen on strengthening throughout the summer.
Luis Enrique sees Bender as a possible replacement for Xavi, who although enjoyed unrivalled success at the club, is likely to leave at the end of the current campaign.
Wenger will want to sign the Leverkusen man in order to replace Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini due to the fact that the pair have been finding it hard to secure a regular role in the middle of the park.