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Arsenal's Bender bid fails

Arsenal have been knocked back in their attempt to sign Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender according to widespread reports.

Lars Bender is one of two Leverkusen players in the squad for the France friendly
Lars Bender joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2009 from 1860 Munich

The Gunners tabled a €23 million bid for the Germany international according to German newspaper Express and several British outlets, as Arsene Wenger looks to add to his squad.

However, after the sales of Andre Schurrle to Chelsea and Dani Carvajal to Real Madrid the Bundesliga side are keen not to lose another of their star players and Arsenal could be forced to turn their attention elsewhere.

A spokesperson for the club said: "It's absolutely normal that there has been interest in him because he is a top-level player who is improving.

"But he has a contract until 2017 and he is absolutely happy to stay at Leverkusen."

Bender, whose twin brother Sven plays for Borussia Dortmund, will play in the Champions League next season after helping his side to a third-placed Bundesliga finish.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have received a boost in their pursuit of Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

The former Inter Milan player has been linked with a return to Serie A after being told he is free to leave relegated QPR this summer but he has expressed a desire to remain in London.

Cesar told reporters after the Confederations Cup final: "I love the city and I’m enjoying living there. Now I have to do things right at my club so I can be considered for the World Cup."

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