Arsenal are reportedly ready to go back in for Lars Bender, who recently committed to Bayer Leverkusen by announcing his intention to stay on at the club into next season.
Bender fits the bill for what Arsenal need in the centre of the pitch, also able to play at right-back. Had it not been for his current injury, the Leverkusen midfielder would be representing Germany at the World Cup in Brazil.
But Arsenal aren’t giving up on their interest in the midfielder. Arsene Wenger is in need of strengthening the team’s midfield with a high-class player of Bender’s mould. The club are also in a strong financial position to put pressure on Leverkusen to sell.
If Bender arrives at Arsenal, these are six players who could follow him.
Iker Casillas had a nightmare World Cup with Spain, probably reinforcing Jose Mourinho’s decision to bench him while the Chelsea manager was still at Real Madrid.
Casillas’ future with the Spanish club isn’t clear. He’s been linked with a move away since losing his starting spot to Diego Lopez, but the club do understand the significance of losing an icon like Casillas at this time.
But Arsenal are in need of a player to add to the goalkeeping department, with little else behind Wojciech Szczesny. Despite his poor form, Casillas would be an outstanding signing for Arsenal and a real statement. The only sticking point will be his wages. But there’s no doubt the Spain and Real Madrid captain will add a lot to Arsenal, both on and off the pitch.
Juan Cuadrado has been linked with a move away from Fiorentina for many months after impressing for the Italian side all season. He’s been a regular starter for Colombia at the World Cup too, only heightening the interest in him from around Europe.
Arsenal need a player like Cuadrado who can add quality in depth to the team’s attack. His pace and constant threat in front of goal would be welcome at the Emirates, with the club well short of players who can stretch the play and make good use of the playmakers in the team.
Arsenal will need to fight against reported interest from Manchester United and Barcelona, but the club do have the means to land Cuadrado this summer.
With Manchester United having completed the signing of Luke Shaw, they’re unlikely to require the services of Daley Blind, despite the Dutchman being comfortable in the midfield.
Arsene Wenger, however, sounded out Blind for praise following Holland’s win over Spain. Wenger is known to be in the market for a holding midfielder, and Blind was excellent in that position for Ajax last season. Blind’s ability to provide cover at left-back, with Kieran Gibbs regularly struggling with injury, could also make him an attractive option for the club.
Ajax more than likely expect another club to come in for the 24-year-old following his performances at the World Cup, while there may be few available who are better suited to playing in Arsenal’s team than Blind.
Mario Mandzukic was recently rumoured to be on his way back to Wolfsburg, a move that surely would have been them strong title contenders for next season. But that story was quickly squashed, leaving clubs outside of Germany free to land the Croatian international.
Mandzukic may appear similar to Olivier Giroud, but he offers far more than just a target man for other players. He’s arguably one of the best finishers in Europe when given an opportunity in the box, and he does have considerably more pace than the Frenchman, having played on the right of Wolfsburg’s attack during his spell with the club.
If Arsenal are able to land another forward who can play on the wings and inject pace into the side, Mandzukic would be an excellent choice to have as the team’s first-choice striker.
Ezequiel Lavezzi started on the bench for Argentina against Nigeria but immediately made an impact upon arrival onto the pitch. He provided balance to the side, where Sergio Aguero had been struggling in the shadow of Lionel Messi.
Lavezzi has been rumoured to be moving on from PSG for a number of months, with Arsenal listed as one of the possible destinations. The former Napoli forward can play through the middle, but he’d be acquired for his ability on the flanks. Arsenal need to add goals to their attack, along with players who can unsettle opposition defences.
Lavezzi hasn’t had the most consistent time in Paris, but he’d be a big help to Arsenal’s bid for the league title next season.
Seamus Coleman is one of many right-backs said to be on Arsenal’s radar. If he’s on the market, he’d be one of the better options to replace Bacary Sagna.
Coleman is very good going forward, finding the net six times last season for Roberto Martinez’s side. Everton will do all they can to keep him this summer, likely leading to them placing a high value on his head that ultimately deters Arsenal. But with the budget available to Wenger, there’s no reason Coleman should be considered out of reach.