Wenger on Mikel Arteta exit rumours: He's at a difficult age, but…

Arsene Wenger at Training - 18/02/2014

Any Arsenal move for Lars Bender speculatively hinges on an apparent sale of Mikel Arteta. Arsene Wenger responds…

It has been reported that Arsenal are in the market for German international Lars Bender.

A deep-lying midfielder who has been a mainstay in Bayer Leverkusen's starting roster, Bender, 25, has tallied 101 tackles, 47 interceptions, 46 clearances and ten shots blocked from 26 starts in Bundesliga competition this season.

In the Champions League, he returns an 82% passing accuracy and 40 passes attempted per appearance.

He is no doubt an asset when it comes to elite-level competition yet his acquisition, which would cost Arsenal anywhere north of the £19.5m figure, could spell the end of Mikel Arteta's career, speculate Sky Sports.

Arteta, 32, is arguably past prime but does have great experience. Arsene Wenger even acknowledged that the player "is at that difficult age" but due to his professionalism he could no doubt offer the Gunners more in the years to come.

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"I like Mikel Arteta because of his quality, his focus, his commitment and his 'winner' attitude. I have big respect for what he has achieved this season," Wenger is quoted to have said.

"He is at that difficult age, but he is very conscientious, very professional and he has a couple of years left, yes."

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