In what will be a huge setback for Arsene Wenger, one of his top summer transfer targets Lars Bender has told Arsenal that he wants to remain in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen for next season.

The Daily Mail revealed just last week that the Gunners boss had listed a defensive midfielder as his number one transfer priority along with a new striker.

The 25-year-old tough guy however delivered Arsenal’s aspirations a huge blow by telling them he did not want to go to the Emirates and would concentrate on his career in Germany after having just signed a new contract with the Bundesliga club.

The man Wenger had pencilled in as a replacement for the aging Mikel Arteta said: ‘I signed my new contract until 2019 and that should have told everyone how happy I am at Leverkusen.

‘I feel settled here and see no reason to change anything. In fact, if I am to be completely honest, I haven’t had an overly brilliant season and don’t feel ready yet to take on a pivotal role at a big club somewhere else.

‘I need to keep working on my game, and I am going to do that here at Leverkusen. That suits me, and I am happy with that.’