Arsenal are ready to test Bayer Leverkusen's resolve in January over midfielder Lars Bender. The Daily Star Sunday says they have already had one bid of £18.5million rejected by the German club but manager Arsene Wenger refuses to give up.

The £20m-rated box-to-box midfield player is being lined up as a future ­replacement for Mikel Arteta.

Germany ­international Bender, 24, is also admired by Manchester United who are aiming to strengthen their midfield with a partner for new signing ­Marouane Fellaini.

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