Bayer Leverkusen are driving Arsenal round the bend.
The Bundesliga club has told the Gunners to get bent, after they made a bid for German international midfielder, Lars Bender.
Arsenal are trying to bolster their midfield, where so much of their nascent creativity was nipped in the bud last season, and were prepared to spend £18.5 million on 24-year-old Bender, whose twin brother Sven plays for Borussia Dortmund.
But Leverkusen have already sold Andre Schurrle to Chelsea and Dani Carvajal to Real Madrid, much to the chagrin of stoic manager Sami Hyypia, and have consequently informed Arsenal that their will to keep Bender cannot be bent.
The failure to land Bender will come as blow to Gunners boss, Arsene Wenger.
He may have secured the free transfer of French youth international striker Yaya Sanogo in a typical move, but his plan has always been to augment his side’s steel by signing a top-class and seasoned goalkeeper, midfielder and striker.
Wenger will now have to look elsewhere for his midfielder, while maintaining his bid to sign either Julio Cesar or Pepe Reina to compete with Wojicech Szczesny between the sticks, and Gonzalo Higuain to spearhead Arsenal’s attack.
Wenger will surely look enviously across North London, where local rivals Spurs are gleefully set to announce the capture of Brazil international midfielder, Paulinho.
And he will have to think long and hard about the pros and cons of paying the estimated £24 million release clause of his other reported midfield target, Everton’s Marouane Fellaini.